25 April 2011


Suit combinations are odd things. You look at a suit, play it how it looks like it should be played and find yourself looking silly at the score up.

Here's a suit that came up recently:

J 9 3        A Q T 4

Pretty dreary stuff; beginners can take finesses. If you look up a book on suit combinations it probably won't be there because given sufficient entries it's dead simple. Of course this time there aren't sufficient entries, you're on the table for the last time.

Now it's not quite so simple. You must, in fact, run the 9 then assuming it holds advance the knave squashing the ten. The thing I find odd is, if you casually call for the Jack you cannot recover by dropping the ten. If you do then when next you play the 9 it gets covered and you're a trick short.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, this is not as simple as it seems, if the AQ10x is in a Dummy without external entries, played by a Declarer with sufficient entries to hand.

    Suppose that you lead the 9 toward dummy and all follow low. You repeat with the Jack, and again all follow low. You now lead small toward A-Q, and a low card hits the table. At this point, you might need to decide whether to hook again or to play for the drop if there are no more entires to dummy.

    An alternative line is to play the Jack toward dummy, then small to the 10, then back to hand, then another card toward dummy.

    If there are multiple entries to your hand, and no-cost entries, then either line seems somewhat identical. However, there might be some inferences available, depending upon the line and the opponents' knowledge of the layout.

    Suppose that LHO has Kxxx. If he sees the Jack and is holding the 8, he might cover, expecting his partner to have the 9, because Declarer "should lead the 9." He might do the same with the 7. Playing the 9 all but guarantees a duck.

    Hence, if there is a risk of RHO ducking twice with Kxx, and if the players are good enough for this, playing the Jack might take away a guess. Or, if the Jack is ducked and wins, the pip plays might at least give a clue as to RHO ducking with Kxx.