9 7 6
J 6 5
A 8 5 3
Q J 9
K 7 4 2
K 8 7 4 3 2
A K J 10 4 3
Q 9 8 3
Q 8 5
K Q 7 4 2
A 10 6
Chronicles regulars will recall the formula for the Gee-Spot:
GS = (P(c) – P(g))*100
where P(c) is the probability of success for the correct line, and P(g) the probability for the line that our hero actually takes.
For some time I have looked for a Gee-spot of 100: a hand on which our hero, with a line guaranteed to succeed available, instead adopts one guaranteed to fail. All good things come to those who wait.
We shall pass over today’s bidding briefly. North invites with a grungy 8 points, East interferes with 3S. Gee, holding 15 points, Qxx in the opponents’ suit, and a moth-eaten five-bagger, adds a queen or so for his declarer play, spurns the certain profit (3SX goes for 300) and raises to three, reaching a rather optimistic notrump game at matchpoints, which, as it happens, is cold.
West leads his stiff spade deuce, marking the position, and East wins the spade king and shifts to diamonds, as good as anything. Our hero wins in dummy and runs the club queen, which holds. Now there is a 100% line available. With East marked on the bidding with the rest of the spades, play a spade off the board. Five diamonds, two clubs, a heart and a spade for nine tricks and a near top, with most of the field in a part-score and some of the rest in 3SX.
The maestro, however, leads a second club from the board, ducking again when East discards a spade. West wins the club king and clears the suit. Still no harm done. Gee cashes the diamond king, reenters dummy with a third round of diamonds and leads a spade. East rises with the ace and plays a small heart.
Gee of course, holding nine top tricks, plays the 10, allowing West to win the queen and cash his remaining clubs for down 3, but here we face a nice question: is this a 100 Gee-Spot, or only 75? The 75 Party could argue that there is a 25% chance that East holds both heart honors. (Maybe more, considering his 3S bid.) Wrong. East’s hand is marked as 6-4-2-1. If East had KQxx, he would shift to the heart king, playing his partner for 10xxx and a minor suit entry and hoping to drop declarer’s spot. That has to be better than diamond jack into A8xx from J10 tight. The play marks West with at least one heart honor, and I award the hand a perfect score.
After the hand Gee himself remarks: “darn me :((( too greedy :((((” There are other expletives, and other adjectives.
Diamond is as good as anything, except a heart switch, which is a sure set.
Well, yeah. That’s what I meant.
Some Random Ramblings from a fellow Gee-Spot hunter.
1. I am unsure why 3SX should go for 300. After drawing trumps and regaining the lead, declarer’s obvious continuation is a heart to the king and a heart ducked to the ace, assuming the opponents weren’t kind enough to lead hearts at trick one, that is. In effect playing the 1NT opener for Ax in hearts. Thus, five spade and three hearts amount to a one trick set.
Points 2 and 3 have been covered in part by Jdonn.
2. “Reaching a rather optimistic notrump game at matchpoints, which, as it happens, is cold” – See note 3.
3. “East wins the spade king and shifts to diamonds, as good as anything” Try the effect of the heart three instead of the diamond. This is the correct return not only when West holds Axxx or Kxxx, but also when he holds A10x or K10x and declarer has no more than seven tricks in the minors. As the defence can judge as well as declarer that 3NT is an ambitious contract every effort must be made to secure its downfall.
Presuming South plays the 10 on the three, West wins with the king and returns the suit. Establishing the fifth trick for East-West.
4. The second club finesse. This play actually contains a grain of logic! If the 2nd finesse works it gains an overtrick. And if it loses, no return by West, no matter how the clubs are divided, can harm declarer’s chances. A heart or spade automatically generates the ninth trick for South. However, if declarer leads a spade prior to taking the 2nd club finesse East may rise with the ace and attack hearts. With the heart control removed the club finesse cannot be repeated in 100% safety. Put briefly, the second club finesse is a skilful attempt at an overtrick.
5. The Gee-Spot. Here we reach a more contentious area as I am going to propose that this hand is not the El Dorado, the crock of gold, the Grail of bridge writers that we have all been seeking.
First a question – hands up everyone who has gone off in a cold contract while trying for an overtrick at MPs? Okay, I confess my hand is raised but I’m hopeful no-one will notice. Of course this is a legitimate strategy when we judge that our bidding eccentricities have landed us in an inferior contract, and we need to take risks to avoid a poor result.
On this hand Gee judges that an overtrick will be worth some extra matchpoints, perhaps raising his score from 90 to 98%. (There will always be one pair in 5HX, won’t there?) True he is treading a path that a lemming would fear to tread, but the fact remains that Gee is trying to make 4NT, not 3NT. So in all fairness P(c) should be zero, not 100, which plainly leads to a Gee-Spot of zero. This is, I grant, a subtle point, but in MPs the calculation should be performed on the contract being attempted rather than that which is bid.
So, in my opinion (though I appreciate that others may differ) our quest must continue and the search for the perfect Gee-Spot must go on.
I concede points 1 through 4, with the caveat that I never objected to the second club finesse. It’s a safe and correct play, provided you don’t follow it up by ducking a heart.
On point 5 I must take issue with Pseudo-Gee. He admits to going down in a cold contract at matchpoints, and God knows so have I, and so has every one of my readers. But has he ever gone down in a cold contract by making a play for an overtrick that was 100% certain to fail? Such a play strikes me as the very model of a 100 Gee-spot. We need not even consider the fact that just making was certain to be 90% or better.
It’s true that in point 4, a valuable overtrick might be gained by repeating the club finesse. However, were I to reach the ambitious contract of 3NT, I would judge that the field might not be in 3NT with the N/S cards, and therefore an excellent result might be available by simply taking 9 tricks, and not going for 10. I will concede, my judgements regarding the field are not always 100% accurate. ;)