Bridge Deal of the Week (September 21 2016)

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Problem

The Auction:

 

West North East South
1NT Pass 4♥!* 4NT!**
Pass 5♣ Pass Pass
Dbl all pass  

 

 

* - Texas Trasfer

** - 4 Notrump Preempt

West opens the auction with 1 NT, you – as North – pass; East responds with 4 – a Texas Transfer meaning East has 6+ spades. In anticipation of the contract of 4♠ by the opponents, South interferes with 4 Notrump Preempt (a Weak Minor Preempt), which promises a long minor suit, 5 diamonds or 5 clubs.

You relay to clubs by bidding 5♣, South passes and West doubles.

East leads the ♠5. How are you going to play this hand?

Solution

This certainly is an interesting hand as your partner has a void in spades and you have a void in diamonds. But your trump suit is not long enough to try cross ruffing, so there remains the possibility to play one of your long side suits – hearts or diamonds to get extra tricks.

It is more probable to get extra tricks in hearts, but there’s a problem of transportation – as you have only two hearts, the entry points from dummy to hand are limited after using up the trumps. If you start playing hearts before drawing the trump, you might not be able to access your hand later on.

After ruffing the first trick of spades the lead is in the dummy. But it would be more advantageous to start pulling the trump leading from your hand as your high cards are usually more valuable if you lead toward them.

So you lead a small diamond from dummy and ruff, next you lead the ♣9 and as East plays the ♣3, you play the ♣8 – if the opponents have two honours, it is right to finesse against both. West wins the trick wit the ♣A and leads the ♣6, East plays the ♣Q and you take this trick with dummy’s ♣K. You lead the ♣J and pull the opponents` last trump discarding a small spade from hand. East discards the 3.

You need all six tricks with hearts to make it, and although you miss the KJ, it is not an impossible mission. It is reasonable to predict West has at least the K as West opened the auction with 1NT indicating 15-17 points. Also East discarded a small heart – which would not be a smart choice if he needed small hearts to protect a high card.

So you lead dummy’s 9 and as West plays low you duck too, so the 9 takes this trick. You can be reasonably sure now that West has the missing honours and lead the 8 next. West covers with the J and you take the trick with the Q. Now you can take four tricks with hearts in a row starting with leading the A as West has only the K left, discarding dummy’s diamonds.

After that you lead the ♠Q, ruff with dummy`s last trump and lead the Q – West takes the last trick with the A.

 

 

  QJ103  
  AQ10752  
  -  
  954  
A96 Deal K87542
KJ4 63
A1098 K64
A76 Q3
  -  
  98  
  QJ7532  
  KJ1082

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4Notrump Preempt is used when there is no slam interest by the bidder and indeed your partner`s bid was intended as an interference and/or sacrifice, but the opponent’s 4♠ would have probably gone down too.

You could have scored two tricks in spades and depending on your partner’s play one or two tricks in hearts. South could have won a trick in clubs and maybe one more in diamonds, so the contract of 4♠ by East-West would have gone down by 2 or 3 tricks. As East/West were vulnerable this would have cost them 200-300 points, you certainly made more by making the contract of 5♣ doubled!

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 3 by North/South.

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