Monday, December 2, 2013

The trouble with beginners

I think you can double. Opener passes, partner bids 3, you rebid 3, opener passes, partner passes and responder continues with 3♠. All pass.

Partner leads club 8. As you have bid hearts and she leads a club, this looks like a singleton. As they say: if it looks like a singleton, if it smells like a singleton, if it behaves like a singleton, IT IS a singleton.

Not a very good 3♠, you mumble to yourself: 4333, 10 losers. If opener has AKQxx in spades, you can maybe beat the hand by one trick: 1 club, 1 diamond, 1 heart and 2 ruffs.

So you win with the Ace and play back your smallest club, the 2, suit preference for diamonds. Partner duly ruffs and plays back... a heart. Didn't you tell her over and over that when she ruffs, the card played by her partner tells her which suit to come back? Why does she do that to me, you say? Opener looks at you with a little grin (not really, you're on BBO :) ) and calls for a small heart.

Which card do you play? You are the expert, you have to keep your cool. With the lead and your suit preference, you could have beaten the hand if partner had played back a diamond. Now that defense is dead. You will make only 4 tricks unless... partner can come in again. Can partner really come in hand again? In order to beat that hand, you have to ASSUME that she will get in hand one more time. If not, you will not beat the hand. And the only card she can have to win a trick is the Ace of spades. That means you can beat the hand by 2 tricks: 1 club, 1 heart, 1 diamond, 2 ruffs and the Ace of spades! Wow.

So which heart do you play? All experts know that in 3rd seat, you force with the lowest of touching cards. With KQ, you have to play the Queen; partner can then think you maybe have the King (declarer can false card). But if you play the King, you absolutely deny the Queen. So in your expert head, you say to yourself: I will play the King, denying the Queen. If partner comes in with the Ace of spades, she will not play back a heart. I explained to her soooooo many times that lowest thing of touching cards in 3rd seat. Having seen the King, she will be sure I don't have the Queen, she will be forced to lead a diamond.

Opener wins with the Ace of hearts and plays King of spades. Partner wins the Ace. Wow, everything is working like you imagined.

Partner thinks and you tremble. She has to, she absolutely has to lead now a diamond. She KNOWS you don't have the heart Queen.

After some 20 seconds, she puts the 8 of hearts on the table.

You almost throw your cards up in the air (you can't, you're on BBO :) ). Please expert, keep your cool. What was the first heart she played? Now it's your turn to think and count and try to remember. Was the first heart she played a small one or a bigger one than the 8? You don't remember??? Expert, expert, you let your emotions get in the way. Pitiful. You're supposed to look at the cards and remember everything. And you didn't.

You play the heart 10 halfheartedly, hoping declarer doesn't ruff. He follows! So don't take any chances now. Ace of diamonds, then club for the 2nd undertrick.

The trouble with beginners is that they don't look. They think they look, but they don't. They have too many things on their mind: the bidding, what you told them about leads, play in first seat, play in second seat, play in third seat, everything. So looking at the cards of other players is too much for them for now.

The trouble with experts is that they sometimes get emotional and forget to look also! :)

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