The Wednesday Game
The Wednesday Game (you may click on that name to visit the site) is both the name of a website and a game held the first Wednesday of each month. There is nothing ACBL-wise official about this game; it costs no extra to play in it and no charity or international fund benefits from it. Players at participating clubs throughout North America (perhaps the whole world, as far as I know) play a set of pre-dealt hands. These are not specially arranged: simply random computer dealt hands. Prior to the first Wednesday, the guru at that website emails materials to the participating clubs to allow them to pre-deal the hands. After the game, participants may visit the website where the hands are analyzed. During that Wednesday, one requires a password (given to the players at the completion of the game) to access the analyses for the current month, until play is complete at clubs on the west coast. There is a wealth of additional information at the website; for instance there is what he calls a BridgeOpedia where he keeps many articles on various topics in bridge.
This was one of the hands this month. I was West. I did not think that my hand quite met the standards for an almost-forcing-to-game 2 clubs, so I opened it 1 heart. 3 hearts was a limit raise; 4 notrump was RKCB; 5 hearts showed 2 keycards and denied the Queen of trump. I knew that we had all the keycards but that we were off the Queen of trump, so I checked out at 6 hearts.
The opening lead was the King of spades. I won and drew two rounds of trump, discovering that I had a trump loser. Suddenly, my chances of making this slam had decreased dramatically. At first glance, it seems that the club loser is unavoidable, but I had what I thought was a pretty good plan. I cashed my diamond winners, ruffing dummy’s last spade along the way, and cashed one high club. Then I threw in North with her trump winner. If she holds the Queen of clubs along with her trump winner, she is now endplayed. Alas, it was not to be; she had an easy exit in the 10 of clubs and I went one down. This line of play works whenever North has the Queen of clubs (50%) plus some extra chances: singleton Queen, Qxxx, or Qxxxx with South. I make these extra chances to be 5/10*28.26% + 1/2*3.91% = 16.08%. Altogether that is a 66.08% chance of success.
Perhaps that was a good plan, but not good enough. Two declarers, John Cunningham and Steve Gittens were in slam and made it. They followed a line of play similar to mine up until the point where I cashed one hign club. They cashed TWO high clubs before throwing North in with their trump winner. Now North was truly endplayed and the slam came home. That line of play works whenever South has the Queen of clubs any number of times (again 50%, but a different 50) plus some extra chances: North having the singleton Queen or Qx of clubs. I make those extra chances to be 16.39%. Altogether, that is a 66.39% chance of success. I was bitten because I took a line of play that was 0.31% inferior. I am simply not good enough to work out those probabilities in my head at the table. My hat is off to John and Steve who, I guess, were.
You may see the virtual traveller here.