Three hands from Gryphons II -- September 22, 2001
           Jim Plank, with commentary by Kevin Wilson

There were some big swing boards last saturday.  Here's one:

Board: 2   Dealer: E    Vul: N-S

You're dealer, with:

       S KT98432
       H 862
       D A
       C 62

Do you open 3s, 2s, or pass?  I imagine there will be opinions in all
three camps -- some won't open 3s with an outside ace; some won't
open 2s with seven spades.  I'm betting Kevin will open 2s, reserving
3s for weaker hands.  I'd open 3s, preferring that bid to show any
hand with a seven-card suit that is too weak for 1s.

Kevin: I would open 2S and (eventually) bid a game over any
       kind of invite.  I don't think it's wrong to open 3S,
       just not my preference.

South passes and west raises to 4s.  Now you're in the north hand,

         S 5
         H 7
         D Q98764
         C AK983

Do you bid?  And what?

I think 4n is not out of the question.  6-5 hands don't grow on
trees, and you may as well make opponents' life uneasy.  Perhaps
you're setting 4s, but you may push west into an unmakable 5s.
The vulnerability is scary though, so I imagine lots of people
pulled out the green card.

Kevin: This is a challenge.  The only info that you have is that
       partner couldn't double over 2S or bid a suit and the
       hearts have to be somewhere... Red vs. white I would
       probably pass, and at equal or favorable vulnerability,
       I'd probably bid.  I think there is definitely a chance
       that 4S is going down with my cards.

Here are the hands.  If north bids 4n, south will bid 5c, and
I imagine west will double rather than take the push.  I could be wrong.

         S 5
         H 7
         D Q98764
         C AK983

S AJ76          S KT98432
H AK54          H 862
D J52           D A
C QT            C 62

         S Q
         H QJT93
         D KT3
         C J754

The results:

    1: +750 -- Brian Sims and Elaine Jerviss score the top:
               5C doubled and making, likely after west tries
               to cash the AK of hearts.

    1: +100 -- I'm guessing Kevin and Ted pushed the opps into
               5S down one.

    1: -200 -- Clubs going down, undoubled?  Perhaps.  Still,
               above average.

    3: -420 -- 4S + 4.

You'll note, 5C doubled by north may well be a disaster.  East can lead
his DA and get two diamond ruffs for down three and -800.  With west
leading, it's probably hard not to cash major-suit aces, and down
one is the limit.

Kevin: Ted made a 2-suited bid, and I decided to show my clubs
       with a 4C bid.  I had support for both his suits, and he
       was bidding RED vs. white.  He bid 5C and we went plus
       against 5S just like you thought.

Board: 13   Dealer: N    Vul: Both

Board 13 was a nice double-swing board.   First decision is east's:

                S AJ764
                H 8
                D KJ732
                C J8

After one pass, do you open?  It's got the required 20 rule-of-20
points (10 HCP and 10 cards in the long suits), so I'd open 1s.

Now south's turn:

         S 3
         H AK962
         D AT
         C KT642

Do you overcall 2H, or do you bid 2S, to show hearts and a minor?
My partners and I play that the Michaels bid shows a weak hand
(8-11) or a strong hand (16+).  This is in the middle, so I'd
bid 2H.  Bidding afterwards should be straightforward:

         S Q5
         H J7543
         D 854
         C Q97

S KT982         S AJ764
H QT            H 8
D Q96           D KJ732
C A53           C J8

         S 3
         H AK962
         D AT
         C KT642

    N     E     S     W
    P     1S    2H    3H
    4H    P?    P     4S

I found it interesting that almost everyone was +4:

        1: +620 --  Again, Brian and Elaine got the top, with 4H + 4.
        5: -620 --  The rest were in 4S + 4.
        1: -1130 -- 3S doubled, +5.  Whoops.
                    A top for Basil and Jo Anne.

With west declaring 4s or north declaring 4h, the defense is easy --
cash your major suit ace, and switch.  However, with east declaring
4s, I'm surprised that all souths found the club switch at trick
two.  Without it, east should chalk up +650 easily.

Similarly, with south declaring 4h, it does not seem clear to me
that all east's will switch to a diamond at trick two.  Again,
without it, south can make +5 by getting the club suit right.

Kevin: Ted and I kept them out of game after they didn't open 1S
       with the E cards.

Board: 21   Dealer: N    Vul: N-S

         S AKJ8732
         H Q9
         D T5
         C AQ

         S Q
         H A8
         D AKJ842
         C 8743

1s by north.  2d by south.  I think 4s by north is a good bid.
It says, ``Pard, I don't care about your hand -- we're playing
4s, even if you have a 10 count and a spade void.'' If you're
playing two over one, I think north's hand is too strong for 4s
-- I would bid 2s and keep bidding spades.  Partner should
figure it out.  With such a strong hand, south will push onto
slam, and not surprisingly, five of the seven pairs reached 6s
(one doubled).  

S T4
H 76432
D 96
C JT52

Now, given the east hand, what is your lead?  With bidding going
something like 1s-2d-4s-4n-5x-6s, I think there are arguments
for either a heart or a club: With south bidding diamonds, and
the auction proceeding strongly, you need an attacking lead.
The JC may do a better job of promoting an honor for your side;
Then again, it may take a guess away from declarer.  Your heart
length may be a strength or a negative for leading -- maybe
declarer is short and the dummy is longer, and they can get a
quick club pitch on a heart card.  Or, maybe you and pard have
all the hearts except the ace, and you need to get the lead in
before declarer runs diamonds.  I don't know.  Perhaps Kevin
will enlighten.  

Kevin: I think the lead depends a lot on the exact auction.  I
       cue-bid 4C with the north cards since I was worried about
       hearts, and in so doing, I marked a H lead.  Without any
       bidding suggestions I think a club is my choice.

Back to north/south.  You are north, a heart is led.  How do you
play the hand?  

         S AKJ8732
         H Q9
         D T5
         C AQ

         S Q
         H A8
         D AKJ842
         C 8743

Since the auction calls for an attacking lead, ducking
may be right -- east may have led from the king, and you will be
+7 when you duck.  However, the HQ is a great threat card to hold
after you take the ace, and it may help you generate an endplay
or squeeze.  

Kevin: There are a couple of problem with entries on this hand.
       First, there is no convienent entry to the north hand to
       draw trumps unless you overtake, and then you lose when
       trumps are 4-1. Second, the problem with taking the ace
       of hearts is that you only have 11 tricks, and a squeeze
       or endplay is usually worth 1. You have to play a club to
       the ace to get to your hand to draw the rest of the

If you duck and win, you'll likely make 7.  If you duck and lose,
and they return a heart, then you have issues.  
Unfortunately, you don't have the entries to draw trump, cash the top
diamonds, ruff a diamond and discard your losers on diamonds.
After the heart lead and return, you have two sources for trick #12 
-- a third diamond or a second club.  Unfortunately, you can't
try two finesses, so you'll have to pick one.  Initially, it looks
like the choice doesn't matter, but there are some ramifications
of picking clubs vs. diamonds:

   - If you pick diamonds, you can play the queen of spades, ace
     of diamonds (to catch the stiff queen), and cross
     to hand with the ace of clubs, and therefore pick up the 
     4-1 spade break.  

   - If you pick clubs, you'll either have to take the finesse at
     trick 4 (after cashing the SQ and DA to see if the DQ falls
     singleton), or you'll have to overtake the SQ and hope that
     spades are 3-2. If you choose the latter (overtaking the SQ),
     then when you cross to the DK to take the club finesse, there's
     a chance that the DQ will drop, and you won't have to take the
     club finesse after all.

Let's analyze them.  

        - Spades being 3-2 is 65%.  
        - Spades being 3-2 or 4-1 is 91%.  
        - The club finesse is 50%.  
        - The diamond finesse is 50%.  
        - The queen of diamonds falling singleton is 1.8%.  
        - The queen of diamonds falling doubleton is 26%.

So, Line 1: (lose heart, HA, SQ, DA, CA, Spades, diamond finesse):
          .91 * (.018 + (1-.018)*(.50)) = 46.3%

    Line 2: (lose heart, HA, SQ, DA, club finesse):
           Same thing: 46.3%

    Line 3: (lose heart, HA, DA, overtake SQ, Spades, DK, club finesse):
          (.018 * .91) + (1-.018)*(.65)*(.26 + (1-.26)*.5) = 42%
          (The expression is complicated because if the DQ falls stiff,
           you can tolerate a 4-1 spade break).

So, lines 1 and 2 look equivalent.  First, a comment -- yes, this would
appear that the slam is under 50%, but that's only after the HQ loses,
which is a 50% proposition.  So, instead of being 46.3%, it's really
73.2% (.5 + .5*26.3).

This is one of those hands that looks like there should be a 
squeeze available, but I'm not really good at seeing these yet,
so I turn the analysis over to Kevin, who shows that you can use
Line 1 to generate some extra chances:
Kevin: In order for a squeeze to work you have to have only one
         loser.  This is called "rectifying the count".  So what trick
         can you lose without them cashing the HK? None.  So you
         might be able to use the heart to throw someone in, and
         it that case, you are conceding a heart.  If that's your
         plan, you may as well duck the opening lead and hope
         the Q wins.  This is what I did.  When it doesn't win,
         then my count was rectified, so I got to wait to decide
         between the squeeze and the diamond finesse.  But I had
         another advantage on my side... If west
         has the CK and Qxx of diamonds he will
         almost always throw the club K because he isn't sure
         who has the CQ. So I get to finesse the diamonds when I
         don't see it...

To make this more specific, Kevin lost the HK early and took line 1.
 I'm not sure if he cashed the DA early or not.  However, before
trying the diamond finesse, he cashed all of his spades.  This forces
the opponents to find discards.  After cashing the last spade,
here is the end position.

         S -
         H -
         D x
         C Q

         S -
         H -
         D KJ

If west started with the CK and Qxx of diamonds, then he'll
likely throw the CK, because declarer's rejecting of the club
finesse at trick 4 implies that partner has it.  

So, after running the spades, you have three choices:

    - If the CK has appeared comes out, then your CQ is good.
    - If opponents have tossed a bunch of diamonds, 
      you play for the DQ to drop.  
    - Otherwise, you play for the diamond finesse.  

On the actual hand, when Kevin played it, west threw the CK.  I asked
if he would have gone down had west kept the CK and the DQ, and he
said no -- east had already dropped a diamond, so if wests discards
one too, the queen is falling.  

         S AKJ8732
         H Q9
         D T5
         C AQ

S 965           S T4
H KJT5          H 76432
D Q73           D 96
C K96           C JT52

         S Q
         H A8
         D AKJ842
         C 8743

The scores:

     1: +1660 -- Barbara Cheek and Jean Mather were doubled and made
                 the doublers pay!  (That's 6S-X + 6)
     2: +1460 -- Any lead other than a heart makes 7 very easily.
                 Were there really five easts who led hearts?
     2: +1430 -- 6S+6 
     2: +680  -- 4S+6


 12   767.14   503.41
 13  -515.71   495.92
  2  -147.14   408.23
 26   792.86   406.82
 21  1257.14   372.36
  7  -315.71   329.32
 16  -258.57   312.84
  4  -131.43   310.18
 14  -197.14   271.33
 18  -224.29   254.83
  9   284.29   243.36
  5    90.00   239.40
 25   145.71   221.29
 27   511.43   214.30
  8   -64.29   213.33
 19  -141.43   213.24
 15   -84.29   191.75
 11    32.86   190.09
 24  -268.57   170.33
 20   578.57   167.71
  6    41.43   167.54
  3   300.00   166.90
 17    21.43   166.60
 28   -82.86   134.35
 10    52.86   113.61
 23   102.86    91.76
 22    -5.71    85.50
  1   -92.86    17.50