Gryphons II -- Hand writeup -- January 12, 2002
                       Jim Plank & Kevin Wilson

It's been a while, but I finally have some downtime.  Here's a
defensive problem (which will be turned into a declarer play problem),
from last thursday's game.  You are east, holding.

    S QJTxx
    H x
    D Kxxx
    C Axx

The bidding goes as follows:

     LHO     Pard    RHO     You
     1H      P       1N      P
     2H      P       3H      P

Was anyone else thinking about bidding 2S over 1N?

Kevin: No.  What if my left hand enemy was about to reverse into 2S?
       If I'm going to bid spades, it will be after it goes
       2-something and comes back to me.

Anyway, pard leads the 9S, and here's what you're looking at:

        S Ax
        H xxx
        D AQJ
        C T9xxx

                 S QJTxx
                 H x
                 D Kxxx
                 C Axx

Declarer takes the SA, leads a heart to the ace and plays a diamond
to the queen.  First, do you take your king?

Kevin: Yes, that diamond might be a singleton or doubleton.  I have
       to have some fast fiendishly intelligent reason and plan to
       duck my tricks.  Nothing comes to mind quickly here.

       A quick example would be the same bidding sequence and my
       having Kxxxxx of D and partner playing a spot card such that I
       KNEW he has a doubleton.  This fiendish plan would be to give
       him a ruff after I cash my Club A. Maybe it will be worth an

Suppose you do (go up with the king).  Now what's your return?

Kevin: Well... with my partners the spade nine would suggest that
       partner has a doubleton spade.  That would make declarer
       4-6-?-?. He already used his entry to dummy (the spade A) so I
       don't doubt he has 1 diamond and 2 clubs.  The club is likely
       stiff so I cash the A. I'd hate to lose to a stiff K. the only
       scenario that I lose with this strategy is when declarer has
       specifically the KJ doubleton. Then I could lead low and put 
       him to the guess.

All four hands:

        S Ax
        H xxx
        D AQJ
        C T9xxx

S 9xx            S QJTxx
H Qxx            H x
D xxxx           D Kxxx
C Kxx            C Axx

        S Kxx
        H AKJT9x
        D xx
        C QJ

You need to lead a club to set the contract, and I think the clues
are there.  Why isn't declarer drawing trumps or ruffing spades?  The
answer is that declarer must have spades under control, and needs to
set up a pitch.  From pard's lead, declarer probably has Kxxx or Kxx
of spades, more likely the latter since he didn't draw a second round
of trumps.  So returning a spade isn't right.  Since declarer wants
to pitch something on diamonds, it must be clubs.

I think there's a good argument for ducking the king of diamonds.
Declarer will likely cross to a spade and repeat the finesse, and
then the club switch is easier to find.  Of course, declarer could
instead secure the contract -- heart, spade king, spade ruff,
diamond, concede three tricks, but declarer may get greedy and repeat
the diamond finesse instead.

Onto the declarer play.  Is that declarer's best play?  4H should
always go down given perfect defense, but declarer needs to make life
as difficulat as possible for the defenders.  I was sitting south and
found the worst play -- spade ace, two hearts, spade king, ruff, club
to the queen, and of course east (Barbara Hemmeter) found the killing
diamond switch.  I was hoping that either east would have the king of
diamonds, or that west would take the first club.  Not so.

I believe there's a second line that may also be effective.  Win the
SA and instantly lead a club to the queen.  East must find the
diamond switch, and west has to cash the ace of clubs instantly to
set the contract, and both may not find the play, especially since
they may be wondering why I have not drawn trump.

Kevin -- what's your line?

Oh -- if they don't return a diamond, I'll lead a second club.  If
that's ducked, I'll cash the AK of hearts, SK and ruff a spade then
play the TC, throwing my losing diamond.  Making 4. If they go up
with the CA, I pretty much do the same thing.  I don't believe I have
entry problems.

Kevin: I would win the Spade A and then play a heart to the A, and
       then take the diamond finesse.  I expect most people to get to
       game and this gives me the most chance to take an overtrick.
       If I got the opportunity to take a second diamond finesse I
       would have to think about it.  I know that my RHO knows I have
       short diamonds and he/she might think they are being tricky
       keeping from a second diamond trick.  Depends on how I feel at
       the the table.  At imps, I'd take my 10 tricks and hope they
       didn't bid game at the other table.

       The way I envision the defense is as follows: My partner leads
       a low spade from three little (unless they raised a suit that
       I bid, then high from xxx is OK). I play the Q under the A so
       partner knows I don't have the K but have the JT. Declarer
       plays a heart to the A and then a diamond, which I win.  I
       cash the A of clubs and partner gives me attitude about
       whether to try and cash a second spade or lead another club.
       I play another club and we eventually get a heart for down 1.

       Are there ways to be tricky as declarer?  Sure, but if you're
       not looking at a hand record then why play for everything to
       be against you when good opportunities are present.  If you
       want the RHO to win the club or at least create some potential
       confusion in the club suit then lead the T off the dummy.  The
       uninterested defenders will not play you for QJ tight and may
       continue the suit because of the strangeness of the prior
       trick.  If you want your right hand opponent to win a C trick
       then you should lead the J and not the Q out of your hand.  On
       this hand it seems so obvious whats going on that I doubt
       leading the J would work.

       Bottom line: I'd go down unless they got crafty or stupid
       against me.  On defense, I see no problems setting the
       contract once a spade is led.  Nice lead partner, but a diamond
       would have ended the contract faster.

The scores:  

       3 pairs (Joan Kaems/Alan Smuckler, Jeremy Fournier/Ted, Jim
                Ridley/Robin) bid and made their game
       1 pair didn't bid game and made four
       2 pairs (Barbara/Mac, Cindy Siegel/Bill Waters) set the game