Bridge Deal of the Week (July 06 2016)

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Problem

The Auction:

 

West North East South
Pass Pass 2♣ Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
3♠ Pass 3NT Pass
4♠ Pass Pass Pass
       

 

You are South on this defensive problem. The opponents declare 4♠ after an uncontested auction. North leads the 6, West wins the first trick with the Q. West leads the trump next, takes the trick with dummy’s ♠A and leads the A.

Can you defeat the contract? What are you going to play?

 

 

Solution

As West leads the A from dummy, you must decide whether to ruff and should you ruff with a small or high trump. Of course you could discard but at this stage of play you cannot foresee any gain by discarding either clubs or diamonds.

Your partner’s opening lead – the 6 indicated length in hearts and as you have agreed to the "fourth best leads" this means by the rule of 11 that there are five higher hearts in other three hands. 10 and Q were in the first trick and AK9 are on the table. This might mean that your partner has a 7-card suit of hearts and consequently it is possible that West has no hearts left.

So it is vital to ruff – otherwise West can discard. However, if you ruff with a small trump, West can overruff with a small trump and lead the king of spades he presumably has.

As East had only one spade, judging by the fact that West bid spades twice and also went for 4♠, he should have at least six spades. Still, it is possible your partner has one more trump and it might be advantageous for your side to take down the ♠K.

So the only sensible way to play is to ruff hearts with your ♠Q. West overruffs with the ♠K and leads a small trump, North plays the ♠10 and wins the trick.

North leads the ♣6 next, East plays the ♣K, you take the trick with the ♣A and lead the ♣J – which also wins the trick. Of course you now lead clubs for the third time. North takes this trick with the ♣Q and leads diamonds; East wins the trick with the 9 and leads the K. Obviously it’s over, you can take one more trick with your ♠J, and the rest of the tricks belong to the opponent.

  102  
  J876543  
  7  
  Q86  
K98764 Deal A
Q AK92
Q82 AKJ109
974 K52
  QJ53  
  10  
  6543  
  AJ103

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you had ruffed with a small spade, West would have overruffed and led the ♠K capturing North’s ♠10 and leaving you with only one trump.

Also it was vital that North gained the lead and led clubs, this way your side also scored three tricks in clubs making the opponents go down by 2. If West had gained the lead before the carnage in clubs, he would have played diamonds discarding two of his clubs thus losing only one trick in clubs.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 4NT by East.

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