K Q J
Q 10 9 7
A J 10 9
A Q J 9 8 7 4
9 8 5 4
10 3 2
A J 8 4 2
8 3 2
A 7 6
K 6 3
Q 7 6 5 4
Today Gee is West. His first bid shows the importance, as he has reminded me many times, of understanding the bidding agreements before passing judgment. Gee is not vulnerable, has a passed partner, six and a half offensive tricks and a nearly useless hand on defense. Three or four spades would be the customary bid here. There is only one conclusion: E/W have agreed never to preempt in spades. Gee chooses the expert bid of 1S instead.
North bids a forcing 2D, South raises, and Gee reenters the auction with 3S, a bid that many STCPs™ might entertain in the first place, but what do they know? North makes one of those doubles that is designed to win the post mortem: could be negative, could be responsive, could be penalty, and whatever partner does is wrong. South interprets it as penalty, as would I, and passes. (Bidding 3NT is the winning action at the table. It makes on a spade lead and goes down on anything else, which is to say, it makes.)
And here we are in the apparently cold contract of 3SX. Hearts break, Kx onside in trump, and the defense cooperates by leading three rounds of hearts, dropping all the honors and eliminating any need for declarer to actually count the suit. (Not that any other defense helps.) South shifts to a club, Gee’s stiff king loses to the ace, and North returns a diamond, won in dummy.
Gee leads a trump and inserts the jack, which holds. He pauses, thinks, and leads…the 13th heart. North, who is already busy rehearsing for the post mortem the 47 reasons his double couldn’t have been penalty, relievedly ruffs with the spade 10. Our hero claims down 1. In fairness, the only card in his hand at that point that would have worked was the spade ace, and you can’t expect even an expert to pull the right card all the time.
Today’s hand also illustrates the situational nature of the Gee spot: if we assume execrable play, it tends to rise with each trick. At trick 1 we have a Gee spot of 20. Gee’s line succeeds whenever the stiff king is onside, for 6%, while the optimal line of play for K or Kx succeeds 26% of the time. But at trick 8, when the defense has cashed their tricks and the trump finesse has held, the Gee spot rises substantially. Gee’s heart play has a 0% chance of success, while playing the spade ace will succeed about 45% of the time (since we already know the SK is onside and trump don’t break 4-0). Thus a Gee spot of 45. The perfect Gee spot hand, then, is one where a 100% line is available at trick 1 and Gee takes a zero line instead. I haven’t found it yet, but when I do you’ll be the first to know.
I think Gee was following expert policy of capturing kings with aces. He correctly assessed that if he cashes the ace of spades he has a greater then 50% chance of losing to a king; much more acceptable to lose to a 10 when you’re a player of his caliber.
For the life of me I don’t understand his line of play. Let’s see. I have 9 trump (in the two hands). I have played 2, and both opponents followed. So, the remaining spades split either t and k; – and kt; or kt and -. Hmmm, In any of the above cases it makes no sense not to go ahead and play the A. But I also think everyone should see that:)))