Deal No. 6

Here's a deal (June 1972 Bridge World page 13),where it appears that BOTH the law of total tricks AND the SST+WP analysis comes up short:

S 10
H Q J 8 7 4
D A J 8 6 5
C 3 2
S A K Q 9 2TableS 7 6 4
HH A 10 6 5
D 9 7 3 2D 10
C K J 10 5C A Q 9 7 4
S J 8 5 3
H K 9 3 2
D K Q 4
C 8 4

Edgar's write-up reads, in part, 'When the Vu-Graph audience saw the Closed Room result, plus 620 in four spades, they anticipated another swing to PRECISION, for six clubs looked both cold and biddable. But the North-South competition in the Open Room turned the swing around... Declarer lost only two clubs, one spade, and one heart – plus 530 [in 3H doubled].'
   From a Law perspective, there are 8 spades plus 9 hearts = 17 total trumps, but 20 total tricks. If one declares the EW hand in clubs, there are 9 clubs + 9 hearts = 18 total trumps, but 21 total tricks.
   From a SST + WP perspective, whether one declares in spades or clubs, the SST + WP count remains the same since the short suits are in hearts and diamonds and hence are not affected by which black suit is trumps, and yet played in spades there are 10 tricks while played in clubs there are 12.
   Would either of you care to comment on this hand? The reality of the situation is that playing in clubs means both there are more ruffing tricks (due to the 9 card fit that breaks 2-2 versus the 8-card fit that breaks 4-1) plus a useful discard on the long spade, but I'm not certain how that is accounted for in either model.

All the best,

Henry Sun
Benicia, CA


Thank you for the interesting deal.
   Double dummy, EW can make both 6C and 6S, but NS can only take seven tricks in hearts (if East leads his singleton, he gets two ruffs).
   So if EW and NS play in their longest fit, there are 18 trumps and 19 tricks. A Law fan would have expected more tricks, since (a) the deal is pure, (b) there is a void, and (c) the deal is a double fit. ALL these factors point towards more tricks than trumps, so one more trick than trumps sounds too little. Still, the Law ain't that bad here.
   What about SST + WP?
   EW have 23 HCP and an SST of 1, but since the HA isn't useful (6C still makes if it's the H2), we could either think of the deal being 20 WP + 1 SST, or 23 WP + 2 SST (pretending West has a heart to follow to the HA). In both cases, the formula says there should be 12 tricks. So it is.
   NS have 16 WP and an SST of 3. That means they have the potential for nine tricks. The fact that they only take seven tricks is due to factors the method has no control over (defensive ruffs). When that happens, even our formula comes up with the wrong answer.

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