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Queen always sits over the Jack - improving the odds?

edited May 2008 in All Things Bridge
I was recently declarer in 7 spades. I had A 10 X X X of spades and dummy had K J X X X. We had all the outside stops and the only thing that could defeat the contract was a 3-0 trump break and a wrong guess. There were no clues as opponents didn't bid. I led a small trump from dummy to my Ace, and West discarded so East scored the Q. 1 down and a bottom as no-one else bid the Grand Slam.

My partner says that in a finesse postion he ALWAYS plays for the Queen to sit over the Jack in the absence of any clues from the bidding because it usually does but also because by always doing the same thing, you improve the odds in future hands. If instead you play randomly your chances of success are 50/50 but by always playing one way your chances improve. Is he right? I would have thought that it's a 50/50 chance however you play


  • edited 8:27AM
    Had your partner been at the whisky?! In probability theory each time you get a situation like this would be an 'event'. Each event would be independent of the one before (provided two of these situations do not occur in the same hand). So your chance of the queen being in east's hand is 50/50. Always playing for the queen to sit over the jack would not improve these chances one iota. It's a bit like the case where you have rolled 5 succesive sixes on a dice. It may intuitively feel that getting a six next time is less likely than one in six but the probability remains one in six as the events are independent.

    The chances of success are significantly higher than 50/50 though. You are around 7 to 1 on for this play to succeed so you were unlucky.

    If you can find a way of ascertaining you have all the controls and enough points (easier said than done!) you would probably be better in 7NT. You could then play on the side suits to get a count on the opponents' hands before playing on spades. Would 7NT have made here and could you think of a way of bidding it?
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