Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Exploring the Internet but woops USA 2 Final is too close

The last of the selection process continues with the finals of US2 Senior Team with Schwartz playing Lynch for the opportunity.  There will also is a match coming up in Mexico when the Canadian Open and Women’s teams play Mexico for the spots in the World Championships.

This is the photo from the USBF website of seniors US1


Paul Swanson, John Solodar, Arnie Fisher, Dan Morse, Fred Hamilton, Bobby Wolff

Well I am at it I thought I might review the USBF Website website as part of my explore the internet effort.  The USBF has a clear focus, the responsibility for the participation of US teams in world events.  They have designed an excellent website to support this role.  It is easy to navigate and everything I want to know is right their.  Things I love:

  • the hand records and results for all the deals are available.
  • Team profiles and convention cards are posted on the site.
  • Lots of photos from events flash by
  • The Bulletins
  • Photo albums
  • All those great archives

I am sure that for competitors things like the conditions of contest and schedule are also helpful.

I was about to find some more interesting websites but something bad happened I logged onto BBO and saw that score in the Trials for USA 2 early in the third quarter is Schwartz 57 and Lynch 51.  There was an interesting play hand in the second quartet that I watched.  It does involve some deduction and some odds consideration.  Here is the hand.  You are in white on red and arrive in 6D with no opposition bidding.  I have rotated the deal).

S 10873
H A4
D Q2
C AKJ103
Lynch Passell
S A542
H 8
D AKJ864
C 76

You have done a good job to get to 6D and now it is up to you to make it.  The opening lead is the SQ and Passell follows with the S6 How do you play the hand?

You start out by winning the SQ presumably.  Let’s say you decide to draw trump.  If you do Lynch follows to four trump and Passell throws three hearts.  You might finesse clubs but the better line seems to be to play off the top two clubs.  Both follow with Lynch playing the five and then the nine and Passell playing the four and then the two.  You lead the CJ off dummy and Passell plays small.  Do you ruff or do you pass the CJ?

The winning play found by Schwartz at the table is to take the ruffing finesse.  I believe that the mathematical odds are very close between the two plays.  The plays in the spade suit suggest that Lynch started with the stiff SQ.  So what you know is that Lynch is 1-5-4-3 or 1-6-4-2.  From the play in the heart suit it is likely that Passell has one heart honor but not two.  If Lynch held SQ H KJ1097 D 9753 C Q95 would he overcall?  I would.  But perhaps not with SQ HJQ10975 D 9753 C 95.  that is what Lynch hand and Schwartz got it right and in my opinion you need to be able to do that to win serious competitions.

Back to segment 3 there are only three boards to go.  Some imps have changed hands but there is still only a 6 imp differences.  The last segment will be exciting.


Nigel KearneyJuly 11th, 2009 at 4:55 am

If the QS is singleton, it doesn’t matter if you lose to West’s Qxx of clubs.

Linda LeeJuly 11th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

That’s a very good point. It is definitely an extra chance.

Richard PavlicekJuly 12th, 2009 at 3:50 am

Hi Linda and all,

The SQ couldn’t be singleton with Passell at the table, else

he’d play the king (from KJ9x) to create a losing option.

Nonetheless, the ruffing finesse was the percentage play

based on the diamond break.

Linda LeeJuly 12th, 2009 at 4:35 am

I think that the singleton spade queen is at least an extra chance. Even great players don’t always from the overtake. (At the table Passell missed it and the SQ was singleton).

Your point is valid with the 4-1 diamond break there are more vacant spaces in Passell’s hand for clubs. It is complicated by how you might guess at the distributions in other suits (where did all those hearts go?)

Richard PavlicekJuly 12th, 2009 at 6:00 am

Aha! My faith in Mike is restored (he’d never miss that). I looked up

the deal at the USBF site. You miscopied spades; dummy had T98x.

Where did all those hearts go? No idea, but maybe it’s like “Where

have all the flowers gone?” if East-West took a “long time passing.” 🙂

Ray LeeJuly 13th, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Yes, the overtake was not an option.

I’d be interested in Bob MacKinnon’s take on this, but I don’t think you can just look at 4-1 diamonds and argue for a 4-2 club split the other way on that basis alone. Clearly West has short(er) spades — at best doubleton QJ one would think, and quite possibly a singleton. Then we have the Holmesian issue of the lack of heart overcalls (South opened 1D and the opponents never bid). That would seem to suggest that East has the heart length, and therefore West has more room for clubs. If one looks at the ‘sides’, to use Bob’s term, the sums of the enemy suits are 5=10=5=6. If spades are 3-2, the the most probable splits are 2=4=4=3 and 3=6=1=3, which is also consist with the (lack of ) bidding. If we assume spades are 4-1, then I think 1=5=4=3 and 4=5=1=3 are the most likely splits. I suspect 3-2 spades gives more cases, and is therefore more probable a priori. Of course, when East follows low to the third club, we have eliminated half the cases and reduced the odds. However, the vigorish in running the jack is that a) it will win if the true split is (East) 4=4=1=4 and (West) 1=6=4=2 and b) If West is indeed 1=5=4=3 she has no more spades to return and declarer still gets home. We have to reconcile this with the fact that West did not bid, and that East had three small hearts available to discard. In the end, I think it’s all very close — I’m certainly not equipped to run the numbers… (help, Bob!).

I thought at the time that declarer was right to ruff the club, but I hadn’t thought about the consequences of the stiff SQ. So I’ve come around to the view that it’s right to take the ruffing finesse. Of course, knowing all four hands might just be influencing me a touch here 🙂

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