# Adjusted Score - what would be led?

This is the hand:

Bidding Goes:
`N E S W`
`P 1H 3C X`
`P P XX 4H Passed out`

EW Make 4H +1, S leading SA and then a spade ruff.

3C is Ghestem, but is not alerted by N (nor indeed to do they at any point tell the opposition this).

EW claim they would have bid to 6H had they known what the 3C bid was. I concurred with this (although on reflection I may have given a proportion as 6H and a proportion as 4H+1).

The issue comes on the play of 6H. S is adamant that he will lead A and another spade just as he did against 4H. I did not accept that, since 6H is a different contract to 4H, and I asked him why he would do that rather than a safer lead of, say, KD (which gives EW 12 or 13 tricks). He repeated his response about 4H, and when I asked him again he threw his teddies out of the pram.

So my questions are:
1) Am I right that the lead against 6H might be different than against 4H?
2) When deciding what S might lead, do I do a split on the basis of how likely a lead is, or do I take the least advantageous "normal lead", or something else?
3) Am I missing something completely obvious here?

I accept that the lead would be affected by the auction, but as this is an adjusted score, there is no auction to consider. Perhaps I should have taken them through how the auction would have gone and then asked him to justify his lead?

Thanks

Jeremy

To answer the more general question, leads against a game contract wouldn't necessarily go the same way as leads against a slam contract, as some of the considerations are different (e.g. at IMPs, a defender against a slam is very likely to try to cash two aces if they happen to be in their hand at the time, whereas doing that against a game would often be excessively conservative and risk missing a chance to defeat the contract). Aiming for "Ace then ruff" against a slam contract is hardly an implausible thing to do – it's one of the most plausible ways that a slam contract that's been bid to make could fail – and I'd have thought it would be more likely to be tried against a slam than a game, rather than less. Note that in the absence of UI from North's lack of alert, North has shown indifference/dislike for both spades and diamonds, so South probably should be playing for North to be short in both suits as that's the action counter-suggested by the UI. A spade lead looks very plausible on that reasoning. (What signals were N/S playing? If the 2 is encouraging, South will clearly continue spades after the Ace lead, as North must have had either the King or a singleton. If it's discouraging, South may have less reasoning for guessing the situation.)

I think it is important to try to project an auction, as that would affect how the leading would go. Let's see: West with a correct explanation may double to show clubs (double of an artificial bid = I have the suit actually bid), but that seems unlikely to make slam (after all, it didn't on the actual auction, and East was apparently interpreting the bid as showing clubs as otherwise East would never have given South an opportunity to pass it out). West's other alternative is to make a support bid for hearts. Weak support bids, such as 3!h in most systems, have no chance of making slam, so let's say West makes a constructive support bid, perhaps an artificial 3!d. East now has a choice of bidding game (4!h; that won't make slam either), or making a slam try. What happens next is going to come down to what East/West's slam trial bids look like. For example, if East bids a natural 3!s, South will probably be able to guess that North's spades are short, making a spade lead very plausible. If East bids 3!s showing slam interest and the King of Spades, that discourages a spade lead from South (who will want to try to finesse the King in question). If East bids 4!c showing a shortage, then South can probably deduce that it's best to try to hit a shortage in North's hand, and although there's no real information to decide whether the shortage is more likely in spades or diamonds (North has misinterpreted South's 3!c bid but South isn't allowed to know that), a spade lead still seems best because the diamond suit has the wrong cards in it for trying to benefit from hitting a shortage.

Probably the best approach here is to discover what the sides' methods are, work out how the auction looks (giving E/W the benefit of any doubt with respect to dubious choices about whether to make slam tries), and then work out what information South would have had from E/W's slam tries (and any potential lead-directing intervention by North over those slam tries) at the point of the opening lead.

• Did you check the system card of NS? Unless they have a card, maybe South is playing the agreement but North isn't, in which case South simply misbid.

As for the lead, it's hard to deny that, given that he was willing to try to grab two quick tricks against a game, he would try the same against a slam. Asking him to justify all of his thought processes if the contract were six, rather than four, hearts is putting him in a totally different situation to having a small few seconds to find the lead and partially going by gut instinct. If he made the lead against four then he has justified claiming that he'd make the lead against six.

• edited October 2018

Ask South if he has read "Winning suit contract leads" by Bird and Anthias. In MPs, leading Aces against suit slams is the big winner.

And I would be adjusting the contract to 3CXX - 7 by South. (Or at least 3CX - 7). Why can't North hold East's hand? South has a massive hand in support of Clubs. If the XX is SOS I will disallow it, if it was to play then I would. (West won't bid 4H if he knows 3C is Ghestem.)

So the answer to the last question "Am I missing something obvious here?" is, regrettably :yes. ALWAYS remember that where there is MI there is going to be UI and look at the consequences.

• If West know that N/S play this 3C bid as two-suited with Spades and Diamonds, then (s)he is not allowed to ask what 3C means.
The double of the cypher 3C bid then shows Clubs.

• E holds !s Kxxx under the 3 !c bidder, and W holds !s xxx over the 3 !c bidder. E/W say they would have bid 6 !h with the correct information that S held spades and diamonds. Give me a break!

But if (on some different hand or planet) you are contemplating adjusting a score from game to slam, then you should not assume that the lead would be the same just because the denomination is the same. This is a matter of bridge judgement, so you should consult. Bear in mind that you can give a weighted adjusted score, which can include weightings for different outcomes in a given contract (arising from different leads or for other reasons) as well as for different contracts.

I agree that other adjusted scores on the board are possible.

• I guess my viewpoint is the same as Abbeybear's here: a) it seems implausible that E/W will reach slam, so perhaps there's no adjustment (and I have a suspicion that both sides are offending here); b) there's no reason in general to think the lead against slam will be the same as a lead against game in the same strain. However, I also suspect that the lead which was actually attempted against the game will be repeated against the slam in this particular case.

Perhaps the best possibility would be to weight the lead against 6!h, then compare the result with the weighted lead to the result of 4!h+1. It would not at all surprise me to find out that the result of 4!h+1 is actually better (as I'd be applying a pretty high weight to the spade lead in this case, the exact value depending on E/W's system). If 4!h+1 is better for E/W then bidding the slam (and probably going down), then they weren't actually damaged and thus there's no need to adjust at all. (Meanwhile, if the slam is better even given the weighted leads, we then need to judge the probability that the slam gets bid. This will also depend on the system, but probably won't be that high.)

• @TawVale said:
If West know that N/S play this 3C bid as two-suited with Spades and Diamonds, then (s)he is not allowed to ask what 3C means.
The double of the cypher 3C bid then shows Clubs.

I think I would rarely "know" that the opposition were playing Ghesswhich. Even if I'd seen it on their system card we've all had "oh, sorry, that's an out of date card" explanations, so I think I'd want to check for my own benefit given the potentially different meanings of a double of a natural and a "spades and diamonds" 3 !c bid.

@ais523 said:
I guess my viewpoint is the same as Abbeybear's here: a) it seems implausible that E/W will reach slam, so perhaps there's no adjustment (and I have a suspicion that both sides are offending here); b) there's no reason in general to think the lead against slam will be the same as a lead against game in the same strain. However, I also suspect that the lead which was actually attempted against the game will be repeated against the slam in this particular case.

Perhaps the best possibility would be to weight the lead against 6!h, then compare the result with the weighted lead to the result of 4!h+1. It would not at all surprise me to find out that the result of 4!h+1 is actually better (as I'd be applying a pretty high weight to the spade lead in this case, the exact value depending on E/W's system). If 4!h+1 is better for E/W then bidding the slam (and probably going down), then they weren't actually damaged and thus there's no need to adjust at all. (Meanwhile, if the slam is better even given the weighted leads, we then need to judge the probability that the slam gets bid. This will also depend on the system, but probably won't be that high.)

Apart from being curious as to why you think E/W are offending, I think you have this spot on.

• Out of the 8 other times the board was played, the slam was bid twice, and both received the DK lead. It was the better players in the field (which I would also classify EW here as) that bid the slam.

• @Abbeybear said:
Apart from being curious as to why you think E/W are offending, I think you have this spot on.

I think they should have been alerting/explaining the double of 3!c much more heavily than has been mentioned in the OP's write-up. In particular, if there was no alert (meaning that the double of N's unalerted bid is therefore takeout), W deviated from system and E fielded it. (If there was an alert, N/S probably wouldn't have had the same accident.)

• It might also be worth considering the auctions at the two tables where slam was bid, for even strong players can have hiccups. There was a hand the other week where only two of us bid the cold 6D slam. Both strong partnerships for the field, we each got there due to partner having miscounted his hand. On the immediate evidence, It'd be easy to say, "Oh, look, strong players bid the slam, so it can be found".

• @ais523 said:

@Abbeybear said:
Apart from being curious as to why you think E/W are offending, I think you have this spot on.

I think they should have been alerting/explaining the double of 3!c much more heavily than has been mentioned in the OP's write-up. In particular, if there was no alert (meaning that the double of N's unalerted bid is therefore takeout), W deviated from system and E fielded it. (If there was an alert, N/S probably wouldn't have had the same accident.)

I see. I'm afraid that I had assumed that given W doubled 3 !c with what he had and E passed the double with what he had, that they were playing penalty doubles.

@Tag said:
It might also be worth considering the auctions at the two tables where slam was bid, for even strong players can have hiccups. There was a hand the other week where only two of us bid the cold 6D slam. Both strong partnerships for the field, we each got there due to partner having miscounted his hand. On the immediate evidence, It'd be easy to say, "Oh, look, strong players bid the slam, so it can be found".

It is dangerous to look at the results at other tables without finding out about their auctions (and perhaps even with). If you are considering an adjusted score it is the situation at this table which is relevant, and the situation at the tables which bid the slam may have been quite different (for example, if S makes a specified two-suited overcall, N/S will likely bounce high in diamonds; if S makes a "spades and an unspecified minor" overcall, the big diamond fit may or may not come to light; if S just overcalls in spades E/W may then get a free run, although neither E nor W will likely view their respective spade holdings with great enthusiasm; E/W may or may not have a 4 !c fit jump available, etc., etc.). Normally the TD will not be in a position to evaluate what happened at the other tables to work out if any of it is comparable, so will ignore the other results, at least in terms of evaluating which contracts are likely to be reached. The number of tricks made in heart contracts may provide some indication of how many N/S's found their spade ruff, but this information is of very limited use given that the TD will not know what information the S players at other tables had on opening lead.