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Too Clever Would it have mattered?

#1 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-27, 14:22

Here is a hand played by Geir Helgemo. I don't think this is outside the realm of an advanced player's capabilities. What I am most curious about is the reasoning for the final decision. Clicking Next shows the first two tricks.

Opening lead heart K


The bidding is described as a weak 2 by opener. You may want to work out the play prior to checking on the spoiler.

Spoiler

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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-August-27, 18:35

This is a famous hand. Kaplan called it, iirc, the immaculate 8.

It’s a rare variant of a fairly standard expert play technique known as the intrafinesse.
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#3 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-27, 18:48

View Postmikeh, on 2021-August-27, 18:35, said:

This is a famous hand. Kaplan called it, iirc, the immaculate 8.

It's a rare variant of a fairly standard expert play technique known as the intrafinesse.


Yes, but the question to me is why this play? If RHO doesn't return a spade, would Helgemo and still run the 9 of spades next? In other words, what were his clues and why did he play as he did.
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#4 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2021-August-27, 19:55

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-27, 18:48, said:

Yes, but the question to me is why this play? If RHO doesn't return a spade, would Helgemo and still run the 9 of spades next? In other words, what were his clues and why did he play as he did.

Even though he's dropped down to #10 in the world rankings I don't think I'm qualified to do anything more than simply admire his work. However, the relevant spade holdings are:

84 - QJT5
H84 - HH5 (3 combinations)

He also knows that West is 5-1 in the red suits, so probably either 3514 or 2515. Agreements and preempting style will play a big part in the analysis and may have led to his play. Or it could easily have been table feel - it's possible to pick up when an opponent is doing something clever (one international has never forgiven me for telling him he played his card too smoothly for him to not be ducking the ace). It's clear Helgemo was at least considering playing for QJTx, but not clear - to me at least - whether the immediate spade return convinced him.
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#5 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-August-28, 22:13

yes too clever! great play but is it percentage? no way! the play still leaves the chance of 3-3 so Geir Helgemo was testing the bath water with it. it gave him a extra chance. suit is more like to be 4-2 than 3-3 but his play established position of 8. what card did east win the trick with at trick 3? that might have given further clue.
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#6 User is offline   Evies Dad 

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Posted 2021-August-29, 10:20

East won with J.
Seems little reason for W to rise from Q8x, and from T8x it can only force declarer to play for 3-3 split.
So must be something at the table.
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#7 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-29, 11:47

View PostEvies Dad, on 2021-August-29, 10:20, said:

East won with J.
Seems little reason for W to rise from Q8x, and from T8x it can only force declarer to play for 3-3 split.
So must be something at the table.


I think so, too. I remember a hand I played in the grand nationals where we had bid a small slam and I had to find a two-way missing queen. A very fine player on my left made an unnecessary discard from the critical suit - and I played her for the Q. Of course, it could have been a double cross. Posted Image
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#8 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2021-August-31, 22:16

View PostLBengtsson, on 2021-August-28, 22:13, said:

yes too clever! great play but is it percentage? no way! the play still leaves the chance of 3-3 so Geir Helgemo was testing the bath water with it. it gave him a extra chance. suit is more like to be 4-2 than 3-3 but his play established position of 8. what card did east win the trick with at trick 3? that might have given further clue.

Apart from a 3-3 break, the main chance when ducking the first round is to pick up Q8, J8 or 108 in West. That's the type of layout where the defence can easily give the position away simply from their tempo.
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