Bridge Deal of the Week (March 08 2017)

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The Auction:

West North East South
  1 Pass 3
3♠ Pass Pass 4
4♠ Pass Pass 5
all pass      

North opened the auction with 1. South responded with the limit major raise – 3. West bid 3♠, North passed, South called 4. West raised to 4♠ and South declared 5 as the final contract.

We invite you to take the seat of North. Can you see a road to 11 tricks? East leads the ♠6.


West wins the first trick with the ♠9 and leads the ♣Q (trick 1). You take the trick with the ♣A (trick 2).

It looks like besides losing a trick in spades, you are almost surely going to lose another one in clubs. Then you have to guess the K and Q or find a way to 11 tricks without needing to guess.

You have seven clubs and one way you might succeed is to try to establish dummy’s clubs. Therefore you lead a small club, but it so happens that East takes the trick with the ♣J while West discards a small diamond (trick 3).

It seems you are not able to set up clubs, so you must find another play strategy.

East leads spades again; you ruff and lead the Q from dummy’s hand (trick 4). West covers so the A wins the trick; next you lead a small heart to dummy’s J (tricks 5, 6). East has three clubs, and so does dummy. You lead a small club from dummy and ruff, West discards the ♠A (trick 7).

Then you lead a small spade and ruff, East discards the 8 (trick 8). Now the lead is in dummy again, so you lead the ♣10 and ruff, West discards the ♠J (trick 9).

To win all the remaining tricks you need three tricks in diamonds or to promote dummy’s ♣9 into winner. The trouble is, you don’t know which opponent has the Q. But if you lead your last trump rather than trying the finesse East will be squeezed, as he cannot afford to discard the ♣K. You lead the 9, East discards a small diamond, thus you discard the ♣9 from dummy and West ditches the ♠Q (trick 10). Now the opponents have four diamonds left and – as East holds the ♣K and West the ♠K – you know that the remaining diamonds are split evenly.

You lead a small diamond to dummy’s Ace and then a diamond from dummy to your king – East’s Q shows up (tricks 11, 12). You win the last trick with the J (trick 13).




 AKQJ1097 Deal  62
 K2  104
 962  Q843
 Q  KJ763

In this kind of situation when the whole contract hinges on a successful guessing of a high card, it is better to avoid the finesse. There are other ways to secure the contract. As the declarer knew, East had 2 spades, 2 hearts and 5 clubs. Although East initially held four diamonds, he discarded one of them when North led spades third time.

Afterwards East found himself squeezed as he tried to preserve his clubs, especially the ♣K to keep a guard on dummy’s ♣9. Thus East was forced to discard another diamond, leaving the Q unprotected.

Knowing that the diamonds were 2-2, the declarer had no need to finesse, instead North could cash in the A and K and then the J. This type of squeeze is called a show-up squeeze.



Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 5 by North/South.

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