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Ducking declarer's trump exit, pt. 2 -- DUMMY
#1
Wait, you're thinking.  How can you think of ducking based on *dummy* when you can't SEE dummy?

There's 2 wildly different scenarios.

Scenario 1:  dummy scares you.

You're worried that if trump get drawn too quickly, declarer may choose to strip ALL trumps, including his own, then lead to dummy to run a separate suit.  Obviously:  this presupposes that risk exists.

Indicator 1:  dummy signals...especially if he signals ace on ace...AND declarer *still* chooses a trump exit.  This concern is enhanced if you have no more than about 5, or a weak 6 (no 10).  

    Exception 1:  dummy is the type who will play ace on ace "to save the point."  You'll have to look at your hand and decide if the risk is there or not.
    Exception 2:  on a jack signal.  Is declarer capable of reading such a signal?

Indicator 2:  dummy's bidding.  Say you sit South.  West opens 50 in first seat;  North passes, East bids 51, you pass.  West bids 52, East bids 53.  Even if the auction ends here, there's a fairly strong inference that West has a threatening suit.  Or more rarely, West opens 60, East bids 65.  Now, to be sure:  this may mean very little if East-West are poor bidders.

Don't ask for certainties here.  These are calculated risks.

You need a plan.  What is it?  You want to neutralize dummy's suit threat.  With indicator 1, you know the threat suit.  That helps.  What you hope is to run declarer out of *dummy's* suit;  at that point, dummy would have to try to maintain a side entry.  If you win your trump ace then cash a few aces, you're helping declarer;  you may be establishing dummy's entries, and you're making it easier for him to clear trump.  If you duck, then:

a)  If dummy wins, he's got to decide whether to cash his other aces for the tricks now, or try for the late entry...and make that determination very early in the hand, when declarer's intent is not clear.

b)  If partner wins, you hope he'll see the risk.  HE can cash his other side aces;  they don't deny entries to dummy.  Then, you want him to exit in *dummy's* suit, to start the process of cutting it off...or maybe, giving himself a ruff in the suit.  If *he* ruffs, he's ruffing away one of dummy's winners.  If *you* ruff, you may well be ruffing a loser...dummy will just play low, and all his winners remain intact.

Now to your hand.  Your indicators are:

--your holding in *dummy's* suit.  Worst cases are things like  TG KG QG QG or  TG QG QG  JG JG .  A pair of 10s suggests dummy may not really have that many extra tricks based on *this* indicator.  (If indicator 2 is present. AND he signalled...be VERY afraid of even  TG TG QG QG  JG ).  With a longer holding...especially 7 or more...then if dummy is actually long...since you are too...SOMEONE else is short.  One or two leads may exhaust declarer, and much of the time, declarer can't strip trump before this happens.  Or, partner might get a ruff, but this won't help much unless declarer's length is 1 greater than partner's.  MAYBE 2.  And even  TG KG KG JG JG JG means dummy might not be able to run the suit that much.

--your trump holding.  If you have something like  AG TG KG KG JG JG , you may want to duck to try to promote another trick, as per part 1.  And if you duck, declarer can't run trump at all.  However, it'll commonly be true that even after winning your trump ace, you still can block declarer's trump strip late.  Thus, winning your ace right now, then exiting in dummy's suit immediately, could be right.

With indicator 2, dummy's bidding says he's got a suit.  You just don't know which, most of the time.  Dummy's melds might tell you;  what marriages did he show, and based on your holding (and declarer's play so far) you can try to work out dummy's suit.  The risk here is that you win your trump ace, then cash some aces.  In doing so, you unblock the trump suit and establish dummy's suit.

When you're worried about playing YOUR aces for fear that you'd be doing declarer's work for him, you've got an instant, STRONG reason to DUCK the trump play.  This point will recur in part 4, when you fear declarer's hand.

Scenario 2:  you're willing to let dummy win and cash (!)

The biggest indicator here is the bidding and early play.  For the bidding:

--it was a weak auction by them.  pass-50-pass-pass;  p-p-p-50;  52-p-53-p-p;  52-p-54-p, and doesn't matter who takes it.  Melds show the potential they're in trouble.  Declarer plays 2-3 non-trump aces in at least 2 suits...he's probably not sandbagging.  You often won't mind if you duck to dummy's ace, as long as he can't cash more than a couple, maybe 3 more aces. 

--you think they've overbid.  Say, 50-60-65, passed out.  Declarer has, say, 23;  dummy only has 6-8.  Declarer cashes side aces...again, this is key.  You don't suspect declarer's sandbagging based on that.  Dummy might have a good suit, but there's no implication of that.  It will often just be the case to make declarer do all the work.  If dummy gets in and cashes, then both defenders will have a pretty good picture of the hand.  They can lead through to catch 10s (and prevent them from being tricks later), or force declarer to ruff, or whatever.  After dummy's aces, the defense will have a much easier time at least contesting tempo for the rest of the hand.

You would like to have textured side suits for this.  BAD side suits would be  AG TG TG (UGH!),  AG KG KG QG QG (give declarer TTxxxx), and the like.  Good side suits look like  AG TG TG KG JG JG ...lots of control...and even  AG KG KG QG QG JG JG .  This suit's good for forcing declarer to ruff.  You can do this with shorter trump;  it can work with, say,  AG TG KG JG of trump.

You would *like* to have a nice bunch of aces.  This is insurance against a bad partner.   Tongue  What you don't want is, dummy wins and cashes...then partner starts firing HIS aces.  ACK!!!!  ARGH!!!  NOOOOOO!!!!!  You forlornly watch as dummy ruffs, then gives declarer a ruff, then ruffs again.  With low trump.  2 undeserved tricks, probably about 5 points.  If the trump trick you duck runs to your partner, some of dummy's aces may be wasted, so that's OK too.
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