“I had a 50-50 chance… Didn’t I?”

Bridge article the Sunday Night Question by Wilfried Libbrecht

On sunday nights, i often get back home from a bridge competition that took place that weekend. I relax and I either jubilate or ruminate, depending on how the weekend went. but something is always there: the questions of sunday night. For the French federation, i am coaching a group of Girls who play at different levels and they can ask me their questions on a well-known social network on the internet.

This week it’s Alexia who tells me about a game contract that she lost. She sends me a picture of the diagram and the bidding sequence next to it and she asks me how she could have worked out to play on diamonds rather than on clubs on this deal:

Alexia: “West led the spade nine to the jack and king. East continued with the ace, then the ten, which I won with the queen when West discarded the heart two and I let go of dummy’s heart three. I played on clubs by cashing the ace, then a small club towards the jack. I had a 50-50 chance, didn’t I?”

Me: “You didn’t think well about all the chances you had to win the contract, Alexia. By playing like this you’ve put all your eggs in one basket… and they got broken when you went down by two tricks. You should have used a technique that we’ve already talked about: combining your chances. How could you improve your chances of winning?”

She has only just received my message when I already see her answer:

Alexia: “Ah yes, before finessing, you need to cash aceking in one of the suits to see if you can fell a doubleton queen, right?”

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