Author Topic: 2021 January - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB  (Read 2564 times)


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Re: 2021 January - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #45 on: January 05, 2021, 12:58:38 AM »
I did do some of the last, when things were not moving more quickly.  So for whatever entertainment/educational purpose below are writeups for Problems G and H

Problem G: !S Q

In a moment of perverseness, BW MSC gave us a second lead problem, but with the added information of seeing the dummy for a second trick lead.  I almost wish that it had been the opening lead problem, and that the !S Q would be the killing opening lead.  Now at the second trick, the consensus is to shift to that very card.  55% of the panel and more than 40% of the solvers (both IAC and BW) made this their shift.  The rationale for the IAC solvers differed widely.  BluBayou:  "Spade Queen:  Ducking a club, and bumping dummy's  !H jack  both have winning layouts but I am going for setting up 3+ tricks RIGHT NOW"  Masse24:  "!S Q. I’d like to attack a red suit. But which one? This is safe; maybe partner can chime in with a sign?"  WackoJack:  "Q !S  Partner has 2 !C singleton.  10 !D or Q  !S to stop declarer from getting into dummy to set up clubs?  10  !D looks more dangerous than the Q !S to set up dummy."  From the panel, Zia smells a red herring in the explanations:  "Spade queen.  What is the club count?  I presume a stiff.  Don't understand encouraging."  Steve Garner argues more completely  "Spade queen.  Catering to many spade layouts that are favorable to us.  I will duck a second round of clubs and hope that declarer has no quick entry (or no entry at all to dummy)."

Second choice for IAC was the !D 10.  38% of the IAC solvers went with this switch compared to 24% of the BW solvers and only one panelist.  But the panelist is world champion and former Ace, Billy Eisenberg who writes "Diamond ten.  Hoping the deuce is suit-preference."  JCreech agrees, but an additional reason:  "!D 10 - I have two reasons to try the diamond shift.  One is that if clubs can be set up, then diamonds may be the outside entry.  The other is partner's card to my lead could be suit preference - then again it could be a singleton."

Problem H: !C 2

Apparently Todd and I are not alone when it comes to hating lead problems.  Virtually all of IAC did poorly this month.  The exception, John Thornbury, who took all the marbles with his !C 2 choice of lead.  He was silent on his logic, so we turn to some of the experts to explain why 44% of the panel and 23% of the BW solvers went this direction.  Sami Kehela:  "Club deuce.  When in doubt, adhere to the established custom."  Gary Cohler:  "Club deuce.  Fourth from longest and strongest.  When anything could be right, I try to be consistent absent a compelling reason to stab them with something else."  Harry Steiner gives it a bit more thought saying "Attack seems in order, with hearts likely 5-3-3-2 around the table, and the diamond lead requires a huge diamond holding in partner's hand.  Partner's failure to overcall in spades rules out that suit."

However, the rest of IAC did lead a spade.  As the moderator asks, "Can we ignore parnter's silence?"  Four from the panel says yes and leads the spade 10.  Eric Rodwell:  "Spade ten.  Vulnerable partner could easily have 7-8 HCP and five spades.  If declarer could systemically have four spades, this would be less appealing.  If I lead a minor, the diamond six might not be readable in time.  A club from this holding would be very hit-or-miss."  Danny Kleinman:  "Spade ten.  A rare occasion for trying to hit partner's suit, as my second choice, the deuce of clubs, is singularly unattractive."  Bart Bramley:  "SPade ten.  Partner is likely to have at least five spades.  He didn't bid, so they must be weak, but we still might be able to set up the suit.  Nothing else looks better.  Second choice:  Heart queen."  In the IAC, everyone chose this answer, some with overconfidence.  For example, Masse24 wrote "!S T. The first unanimous MSC lead problem?"  While Blu Bayou "so sad to weigh in that this is another  "WTP".   spade ten is both passive and constructive.   Who can ask for more   on the road to the podium?"  Every one else expressing an opinion were looking for a safe lead that might hit partner.  DickHy: "ST.  Oh, a lead problem that I might not cock up completely.  W is 5(332)* and N has denied a 4c spade suit, suggesting p has 5+ spades and, from the auction, 7 HCP.  However, his spades aren’t that solid because he spurned the chance to overcall 1S – maybe at best KJxxx, then and an outside entry he can tell me about later.  Should I be leading the S8 to show no interest in the suit (a la Eddie Kantar)?  Nah, with KJxxx, partner’s life is much easier if I play the T."  JCreech: "!S 10 - At best, declarer is looking at 7 spades, but may have less.  I have two probable entries, but really no suit to set up myself, I so will try to hit partner, and use one of my entries to continue the spade attack."  WackoJack: "10 !S Time to be passive and this looks least likley to give a trick"  But Arthur Robinson, from the BW panel, may have summed it up best:  "Spade ten. Ugh!  Thank goodness I gave up playing this game."

The diamond 5 or 6 was the second highest score on this problem.  No one from IAC went this direction, so we are left with the BW panel for enlightenment.  The reasons vary.  Carl Hudecek wants "... a passive defense ... If the spades were two low, I would lead one.  But as it is, I don't want to waste the ten."  Sue Picus wants "... to try to concede the fewest tricks and tempos that I can." 
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran