Bridge Deal of the Week (March 01 2017)

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Problem

The Auction:

West North East South
1NT Pass 2♣ Pass
2 Pass 3NT all pass

You are South on this week’s defensive problem. The opponents have declared 3NT after an uneventful auction. North leads the K. Can you find a successful defense and defeat the contract?

 

Solution

North leads the K; West takes the trick with the A (trick 1) and leads the ♠6. North wins the trick with the ♠A (trick 2) and leads the Q (trick 3), the declarer plays the 10 from dummy.

You hold the 985. And now comes a very important moment as you must guess your partner’s suit length and decide which card to play.

West should hold at least one more heart as he opened the auction with 1NT, so he couldn’t have had a singleton heart. If West held two hearts, this means North had five.

If you play the 5 now, your 9 will become a certain winner after the J has been played. The problem is if North led from an unbroken sequence like KQJxx, then after taking the trick with the J and leading hearts once again the lead would be in the wrong hand (yours) with no way to return it.

There won’t probably be any entries left to North’s hand, as your partner would already have shown 10 high-card points after leading the J. So instead of the 5 you play the 8.

North takes the next trick with the J (trick 4), you play the 9 as West discards a small club. North wins two more trick leading the 7 and then the 3 (tricks 5, 6), then leads clubs. The rest of the tricks belong to the opponents.

 

   A  
   KQJ73  
   1063  
   9432  
 1076 Deal  KQJ4
 A6  104
 AQJ82  K954
 A65  K108
   98532  
   9852  
   7  
   QJ7  

I believe we have all seen some time or other relief on declarer’s face (and the despair of defenders), when in notrump contract the lead ends up in wrong hands, thus preventing the defenders to fully exploit their longest suit.

This is an example of how by rightly guessing the suit length(s), South was able to make a right decision and discarded the 98 to let North proceed taking tricks with his 5-card suit of hearts.

If the declarer hand not decided to “lose his losers early“and and had ducked the first trick of hearts, South would probably have played the 2 and 5 and been left holding the 98.

The declarer could have won 1 trick in clubs and 5 tricks in diamonds, then led spades and after North had won that trick with the ♠A and taken another one with the J, South’s 9 would have taken the next trick. That way North-South would have scored only one trick in spades and three tricks in hearts.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 5xN -2.

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