Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Are there style points for going down in a hand slowly?

The answer to the question posed in the title is surely no.  An exception might be made for running a squeeze or throw-in because these normally need to be performed late in the hand.  If the throw-in or squeeze doesn't operate, you've usually lost nothing but at least gained some style points.

So why do I continue to try to delay a bad result simply by playing off winners?  Here's a case in point.  I held ♠3 AK93 AKT873 ♣A9 in an IMP pairs.  A very nice hand by any yardstick.  With opponents silent, the auction proceeded: 1, 1♠, 2, 3NT.  Clearly 3NT showed enough values for game opposite a minimum reverse but otherwise a balanced hand with nothing more to say.  I tried 4, partner bid 4 and I closed the proceedings with an ambitious 6.  A club was led and dummy was reasonable, though not quite what I was hoping for: ♠AJ84 J86 Q6 ♣Q832.  Still, he had the other Ace (not perhaps as useful as a King somewhere else) and the Q of trumps.

I tried the ♣Q without much confidence and it was covered by the K which I won with the A.  Now what?  The lead was very damaging.  I might avoid a heart loser by leading low to the J and finding the Q on my left, but a club will be cashed immediately.  What about trying for the QT on my right?  This is only a 24% shot and, needless to say, if one of the cards is wrong, my contract will go down in flames at trick 4 (after I've crossed to the Q and run the J).

Something in the back of my mind nagged at me that it was extremely ignominious to go down as early as trick 4 so guess what I did?  I abandoned even my 24% shot and played for a miracle.  I'm not exactly sure which miracle I was hoping for (QT doubleton or somebody pitching the J and T of clubs perhaps?).  But suffice to say I went down with no style points whatsoever several tricks later.

As it happens of course, my execrable bidding was about to be rewarded with a very fortuitous lie of the cards, except that I didn't take the finesse at trick 3 and thereafter had only one entry to dummy (the ♠A). 

So, why am I telling you this?  Because just maybe I can get it into my thick skull that there's really no difference whether you go down at trick 4 or trick 13.  Down is down!  And a small chance is better than no chance.

No comments:

Post a Comment