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Illusion - novice/intermediate play problem

#1 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-July-06, 05:41



This came up when playing against Robots. The bidding looks a bit suspect but the final contract is sound.

West leads a trump -- the 6 (and East will follow to this trick with 5). Plan the play, especially to the first 3-4 tricks.

PS: FYI, I almost got this wrong.
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#2 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-July-06, 06:07

View Postshyams, on 2020-July-06, 05:41, said:

PS: FYI, I almost got this wrong.


LOL. I almost got it right :)

Small hint - I hope you don't mind: Before embarking on any contract take a deep breath and do what?

Edit: I did actually get this right. I can hardly call myself an advanced player if I messed up here. That's why I posted a hint.
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#3 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-July-06, 10:38

View PostFelicityR, on 2020-July-06, 06:07, said:

LOL. I almost got it right :)

Small hint - I hope you don't mind: Before embarking on any contract take a deep breath and do what?


What are you doing at tricks one and 2 ?
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#4 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-July-06, 11:30

Pretty. Almost a textbook case.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#5 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-July-06, 15:36

Really nice example

Very easy to go wrong if you aren't thinking after the opening lead
Alderaan delenda est
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#6 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-July-11, 02:25

For the sake of completeness (and to anyone who found that the solution eluded them), the correct play was to overtake the K with the A at trick 1, then play A followed by ruffing 4 in dummy with the Q.

N/S have 7 trump winners plus 2 Aces plus an "obvious" ruff in dummy. The problem arises if we instinctively let the K in dummy win the first trick because there is no quick entry back to hand to ruff the .

If you allow K to stand, you will next have to play a low club OR the A and a low . You hope that opponents will lead another card in the minor suit and you can ruff that in hand. However, East (or West) will win return their second low trump when in with their first trick. This causes your ruffing trick to evaporate and the contract is now headed for a disaster.

Here is the link to the actual deal: https://tinyurl.com/y8dml8ss

Deals like this appear in card play textbooks. The illusion is created by the superfluous trump winners in North. This problem would have been an non-problem if North held 43 and South held AKQJ109x --- everyone would win the first trick in the South hand and immediately secure the ruff.
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#7 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2020-July-12, 08:33

View Postshyams, on 2020-July-11, 02:25, said:

Deals like this appear in card play textbooks. The illusion is created by the superfluous trump winners in North. This problem would have been an non-problem if North held 43 and South held AKQJ109x --- everyone would win the first trick in the South hand and immediately secure the ruff.


This is a good novice lesson on counting top tricks, how many more needed to make the contract, and how to do that. Then before playing from dummy, formulate a plan. The 10th trick has to come from a heart ruff, which means being in hand. There is no way back to hand other than overtaking dummy's trump winner. Once all this has been established, the line of play is marked. It should also be noted on the lead that there are insufficient entries to dummy to establish the diamonds for heart discards.
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#8 User is offline   KingCovert 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 15:23

View PostAL78, on 2020-July-12, 08:33, said:

This is a good novice lesson on counting top tricks, how many more needed to make the contract, and how to do that. Then before playing from dummy, formulate a plan. The 10th trick has to come from a heart ruff, which means being in hand. There is no way back to hand other than overtaking dummy's trump winner. Once all this has been established, the line of play is marked. It should also be noted on the lead that there are insufficient entries to dummy to establish the diamonds for heart discards.


Partially correct, but not quite the right take away I don't think. Instead of counting top tricks, which is the recommended way to approach No-Trump contracts, you often want to count potential losers in suit contracts, this hand clearly has 4 losers. 2 hearts, 1 diamond, and 1 club loser. You need to find a way to alleviate yourself of (in this case) one of these losers prior to actually losing them all. Hence the ruff of a heart at trick 2 or 3 is required.
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#9 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 06:09

View Postshyams, on 2020-July-11, 02:25, said:

For the sake of completeness (and to anyone who found that the solution eluded them), the correct play was to overtake the K with the A at trick 1, then play A followed by ruffing 4 in dummy with the Q.

I guess you can count me amongst the novices then as I did not cash A at trick 2. :unsure:
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#10 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 08:17

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-July-16, 06:09, said:

I guess you can count me amongst the novices then as I did not cash A at trick 2. :unsure:

The early play - or not - of A is not relevant :) I guess I mentioned it because the link to the play had me cashing the A
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#11 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 11:02

View Postshyams, on 2020-July-16, 08:17, said:

The early play - or not - of A is not relevant :) I guess I mentioned it because the link to the play had me cashing the A

Unless somebody missorted their hand, or mixed some diamonds in with hearts, etc. it shouldn't make any difference. But if somebody had a singleton heart, your A might get ruffed which is a minuscule percentage. Still a much larger percentage than A getting immediate ruffed.
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#12 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 14:25

Even the robots aren't bad enough to cue-raise hearts without actually having any.
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#13 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 22:32

definitely fits into fairly elementary problems since I was able to work out what to do and so was a single dummy problem solver with the bidding included as constraints :) Neither of us bothered with the safety play - me because I didnt think and the software because of the heart constraint :)
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