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do not lead trump?
#1
Can anyone help me analyze this hand, in particular towards the end?

Code:
% Format "PPN 1.0"
% Site "worldofcardgames.com"
% Date "2018.01.09"
% ID "15155144825106"
% Players "N-Ro E-Ar S-Ca W-Jo"
% tableid "1249bc31-f4b1-4e83-b3db-564766e0bb10"

[GameScores "389:288"]
[Deal "E:CATJJDAKQQQSKKQJHAATTKQQ CAATKKQQDTTTKJJSAKQHKQJJ CATKQQDAAKQJJSATKQJHTKQJ CTKJJDATKSAATTTQJJHAATKJ"]
[Auction "S:52 Pass 53 54 Pass - Pass"]
[Contract "E 54 C"]
[Melds "6:CDKQSKQHKQ 24:CKKQQDKJSKQHKQ 28:CKQDKQJSKQHKQ 0:CDSH"]
[Play "E"]
AS JS TS JS E2
QS AS JS KS S2
AD KD KD JD S3
AD TD QD JD S2
JD AD QD KD W2
AH QH KH JH W2
AH QH JH QH W1
AS QS KS QS W2
AS KS KC KS E4
TD JD KC QD W2
JS JC KC TS E2
TD KD JC AD W3
JC AC QC KC N2
AH JH KH JH N2
AH QH TH KH N3
JC AC QC TC E2
QC TC QS TC S2
QD TH KH TD E3
AC QC TS TH E3
TC AC TS TH S6
[MeldScores "34:24"]
[PlayScores "22:28"]
[Result "SET"]
[HandScores "56:-54"]

The dealer, East, wins the bid despite no meld bid from West... Towards the end of the game, East has the lead and plays a jack of trump when he has only 2 trump cards left (jack and 10). How wrong is this? Should you always avoid leading with trump when you have just a couple left?
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#2
I'd like to hear commentary on Tricks #2, #11, #13, #16, and #17.

At Tricks #14 and #15, it appears that North wasn't counting the aces in hearts, potentially making West's  TH good later.

Overall it seems that East lost control/strength as a product of cross-ruffing tricks in tricks #9 through #12.  There was an opportunity to regain trump dominance at trick #16, by tossing the 10 and forcing the ace from South, but that opportunity was missed.
It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life. -- Mickey Mantle
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#3
I much prefer to be comprehensive.  

South opens 52.  Why not 53?  Roundhouse, pino, 4 aces.  

West and North are fine.  

East is being cute bidding 54, I think.  It's a useless bid;  IMO, a *very bad* one.  This bid stands to lose lots of points.  N and S have to pass *right now*.  East has about 40 total in clubs...24 meld and 6 tricks.  If West can kick in 15, it makes.  That's cutting things pretty fine.  Conversely, N/S aren't under any kind of pressure.  There is always some chance that they were not making.

I can see South passing.  Now when it gets back to North, South's opening bid comes home to roost.  Give South 25 points total, in support.  North has 7 tricks for 17 (let's be cautious and round down) and only 8 meld.  Had South bid 53, North can bid to 60...and should have jumped to 60.

Hand commentary...my comment on the action I'd take is based on the actual cards played to that point, rather than the actions I'd have preferred.  

Trick 1 is fine.  Trick 2 is the worst possible play.  HORRIBLE.  Worse than a trump.  Declarer is *inviting* loss of control, because he's forcing himself to ruff too quickly.  IMO, declarer's best exit, when there's no direction from the winners he's cashed, with such a weak hand, and with just average trump length...is his longest side suit.  2 benefits here:

1.  Who knows, the 10's MIGHT set up eventually.  
2.  More likely, it's the suit dummy is most likely to be short in (outside of his trump suit).

Tricks 3 and 4 are diamonds, so as it turns out, trick 2 doesn't matter.  On a diamond exit, tricks 2-4 would effectively be the same.

Trick 5 is a mistake by South.  He's seen  KD and  TD from West.  West isn't giving points without reason.  A third diamond is not that good if West started with TTK or TKK;  it's *awful* if West started with ATK.  The first 2 allow North in, sure...but West can now ruff.  AND, South knows *East* may well have long secondary diamonds.  Who has the 10's?  Not North.  Not South.  Maybe West has ATTK or ATTTK or ATTKK.  Actually, to be really scary...East bid with only one side ace?  South has to be very concerned that East started with something like  AD TD TD KD JD  JD and West  TD TD KD .  So a diamond at trick 5 forces North's ace...and sets up *3* diamond tricks for East later.

What should South do at trick 5?  Bleah.  It's hard to say.  A heart is largely useless.  A trump is potentially wrong, IF!! East is sandbagging secondary diamonds.  A diamond can't be right.  A spade...partner did not signal at trick 2.  So it's a degree of risk.  A trump is somewhat more likely to reach North, which might be very valuable...there's a 3 point diamond trick that's there for the taking, and may *have* to be taken by North immediately, or it's gone.  

Anyway....West is in at trick 5.  2 heart aces, of course.  

Here's where things become messy, at trick 8.
West continues spades...which should be with  TS s frist.  Normally this is really, really bad...but hearts isn't any beeter and West doesn't want to lead trump;  he wants those to ruff diamonds.  OK, in that case, playing spades can set up a crossruff...and it does.  8, spade wins.  9, spade is ruffed.  10, a diamond is ruffed with  KC .  11, West plays  JS  ... WHY?  Lead the point.  If North wants to ruff with an ace...there goes a card that East needs to remove anyway.  This is a point dropped.  Trick 12, East leads another diamond;  West ruffs with  JC  .   Debatable.  Correct sometimes, but points are at a premium.  Too many things need to happen for it to be right, IMO.  

Trick 13 is an unalloyed error, especially when West plays the  JC at trick 12.  If West ruffs with the  TC at trick 12, then a low club might be ok.  Even TS  is better;  it'll tempt North to ruff big.  Which accomplishes the goal while allowing West to retain his clubs.  Stilll...why not just a simple, passive heart exit?  The hearts have to be led sooner or later anyway.

Next...when West leads  JC  North should probably insert his  TC .  Winning his ace now is premature.  It's not getting any value.  There's some hope that South might have  AC TC TC XC XC or even  AC TC TC XC XC XC ...the latter isn't likely, to be sure, but it's possible still.  If North plays his  TC now...OR, wins his  AC then leads  TC he helps promote South's trumps, which are behind declarer.

The reason it's wrong for West to lead a trump is, there's no point, and he's stripping the guard card for his high trump that does have value as a forcing card.

Tricks 14 and 15 are the most absolutely, completely ROOKIE actions of the whole deal, as it was played.  First, they should be 10's first.  Always here.  Then...if you are gonna do it...lead ANOTHER ONE.  There's 1 heart left.  If West has it, the heart uppercuts East...forcing him to play a high trump and weaken his holding, or lose the trick cheap.    If South has it, then both East and West will have to ruff.  And East has to worry about the uppercut.

I can live with  JC at trick 14...retaining the hearts for the end.  

Anyway, at trick 16, East is guessing.  His lack of texture hurts here.  Winning his ace is OK.  17 and 18 are correct.  East miscounted points at trick 19.  He can guarantee last trick...and the 2 points that nails the save...by leading his  TC at trick 19.  I will admit to some sympathy;  I've brainfarted this more than once myself.
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#4
To mick's point on the crossruff...East had losing diamonds anyway. He scored a couple diamond ruffs, so his diamond leads were fine. The problem is West's spade leads, to a degree.

Once West started cashing spades at all, he was pretty much committing to a crossruff. So he needs to continue that. Which makes a trump at 13 even stranger. AND, remember that East exited with a spade. IF EAST DOESN"T WANT TO RUFF SPADES, HE SHOULD"T EXIT IN SPADES. Pardon the volume, but this is an extremely common declarer error. East's trump holding was definitely NOT GOOD ENOUGH to do this. AATTxxxx maybe, but not AATxxxx.

It's actually pretty interesting to speculate whether this should make or not, if played and defended by experts.
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#5
@Marya In the future, please post these types of posts in the Hand History Analysis forum. Good post anyhow. Plenty to discuss. (I'll let rakbeater move this one if he wishes)
It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life. -- Mickey Mantle
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#6
(02-13-2018, 11:02 PM)mickmackusa Wrote:  @Marya In the future, please post these types of posts in the Hand History Analysis forum.  Good post anyhow.  Plenty to discuss.  (I'll let rakbeater move this one if he wishes)

Sorry for the goof!
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#7
(02-13-2018, 07:09 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  I much prefer to be comprehensive.  

South opens 52.  Why not 53?  Roundhouse, pino, 4 aces.

I'll reply piecemeal. I do not know the reasoning on the opening bid. My bots would have opened with 53. South was a human (and not me).
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#8
(02-13-2018, 07:09 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  ...Trick 2 is the worst possible play.  HORRIBLE.  Worse than a trump.  Declarer is *inviting* loss of control, because he's forcing himself to ruff too quickly.  IMO, declarer's best exit, when there's no direction from the winners he's cashed, with such a weak hand, and with just average trump length...is his longest side suit.  2 benefits here:

1.  Who knows, the 10's MIGHT set up eventually.  
2.  More likely, it's the suit dummy is most likely to be short in (outside of his trump suit).

The logic is that East exits in their short suit, spades, so that East can go void in spades asap, and start trumping in asap.

You're saying this is wrong "because he's forcing himself to ruff too quickly", but I do not understand what is wrong with that (?).

Your alternative is to lead with East's longest non-trump suit (diamonds), in the hopes that East's teammate will be short in that suit and may more quickly trump. Why do we want East's teammate to trump sooner, but West should be playing trump later?

I'm not arguing with you, I just want to understand the rationale.
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#9
(02-22-2018, 01:27 PM)marya Wrote:  
(02-13-2018, 07:09 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  I much prefer to be comprehensive.  

South opens 52.  Why not 53?  Roundhouse, pino, 4 aces.

I'll reply piecemeal. I do not know the reasoning on the opening bid. My bots would have opened with 53. South was a human (and not me).

South should have bid 53, is what I was trying to say.  28 meld with 4 aces.  I talk about this extensively in other threads, but it's expectation.  There's gonna be the meld, sure, but there's also gonna be some tricks.  I figure dummy's gonna win 2 tricks.  That's all, unless I've heard aces or double aces.  That means a 20 meld bid gives a total of 25 points in total support.  That's what your partner can use.

So, with a stronger hand, you don't need as much meld.  So I count 1 "meld" for each ace.  Works out.  So, 28 meld and 4 aces is 32 effective meld.  Give 30.
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#10
(02-22-2018, 01:45 PM)marya Wrote:  
(02-13-2018, 07:09 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  ...Trick 2 is the worst possible play.  HORRIBLE.  Worse than a trump.  Declarer is *inviting* loss of control, because he's forcing himself to ruff too quickly.  IMO, declarer's best exit, when there's no direction from the winners he's cashed, with such a weak hand, and with just average trump length...is his longest side suit.  2 benefits here:

1.  Who knows, the 10's MIGHT set up eventually.  
2.  More likely, it's the suit dummy is most likely to be short in (outside of his trump suit).

The logic is that East exits in their short suit, spades, so that East can go void in spades asap, and start trumping in asap.

You're saying this is wrong "because he's forcing himself to ruff too quickly", but I do not understand what is wrong with that (?).

Your alternative is to lead with East's longest non-trump suit (diamonds), in the hopes that East's teammate will be short in that suit and may more quickly trump. Why do we want East's teammate to trump sooner, but West should be playing trump later?

I'm not arguing with you, I just want to understand the rationale.

Why does East want to ruff spades?

East is declarer.  East's trump suit controls the hand.  Early ruffs kill this.  East's long trumps are tricks at any point in the hand.  They are tricks he's already counted in the bidding.  So there's no value added...and there is damage to the timing, in terms of last trick.

Now, if West can ruff some diamond tricks...those are *not* tricks that East counts on.  West's aces will cash as cash can...but if West can ruff diamond tricks, those are extra tricks.  West can't be assumed to have long trumps...on average he'll have 1/3 of the remainder, so about 4.  

Now, if West *can* ruff diamonds...he doesn't want to lead trumps.  Why?  His trumps are potential tricks via diamond ruffs.  

There's a core principle here, that applies to all sides...declarer, dummy, defense.  Generally, cash the tricks that may be at risk.  When you're done with that, work on your side's LOSERS.  For declarer, this means a long, weak suit.  For dummy, it's a little different...he wants to set up ruffs for himself if he can (play a hidden short suit);  if not, make a play to minimize risk to declarer.  Defense is trickier.  2 quick examples...if you can force *declarer* to ruff, that's usually a good idea.  Second, count the aces.  If you know your side has all the remaining aces...why cash them?  There are reasons, but treat these as exceptions.  The broad rule is, don't play that suit.  

BIG extension here...say South is declarer in spades.  South did not declare aces.  He cashes one each diamond and heart aces.  Say he exits in trump, and North wins.  North now cashes a heart ace, then exits.  Don't care how.  East and West can assume they have all 4 club aces between them.  They *probably* have the 2 heart aces and 3 diamond aces...but there is some risk that South is playing tricky.  South could be trying to be tricky;  that's possible and might be worth a test lead in the suit *from East*.  The defense wants to attack the losers they've always got, rather than cash their winners.  Well, the only place those are...is the trump suit.  So defense can lead trump, or they can try to probe to find where South has to start ruffing.  THAT means, attack *1* suit at a time.  Don't scattershot.  Candidates:  the more tricks have been led, the better;  and, a long suit held by the first defender to get in, that isn't trumps.  It won't always work, but it's the percentage play.
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