Bridge Deal of the Week (March 15 2017)

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The Auction:

West North East South
2♠ Pass Pass 3
all pass      

West opens the auction with 2♠, North and East pass. You as South bid 3. West leads the ♠K. Can you fulfill the contract?


You take the first trick with the ♠A.

You have two quick losers – the A and another trick in spades, you might also lose a trick in diamonds as you miss the Q. You have a 7-card trump suit, but you need hearts to ruff spades and clubs, thus you cannot draw trumps (at least not completely) to avoid the possibility that the defendants gain control of the hand. To maintain control, you decide to give up the tricks you are going to lose early. First you lead a small heart to dummy’s queen, East wins that trick with the A (trick 2) and leads the ♠J, which wins the next trick (trick 3).

East leads a small club then, West plays the ♣J, dummy’s ♣A takes the trick (trick 4).

Now the opponents have four hearts while you hold five, so you can still use your hearts to ruff losers. First you lead a small club from dummy and ruff (trick 5), then lead a small diamond to dummy’s ace (trick 6), lead a small club and ruff again (trick 7).

You take the next trick with the K (trick 8) and lead a small diamond. West discards spades, East’s Q wins the trick (trick 8).

East leads the 2 next. You play the 9, which holds as West discards another spade (trick 9).

Now you know that East has the Jxx, while you have the K10. The solution is to endplay East and force the lead on him. You lead a small diamond to dummy’s J, East takes the trick with the 5 (trick 11) and has to lead trump – the 7 – so you can take this trick with the 10 and the last one with the K (tricks 12, 13).

 KQ10652 Deal  J3
 4  AJ752
 75  Q106
 KJ94  Q85

The probability of the distribution of 5-1 is only 15%, if missing six cards. The 4-2 and 3-3 splits are far more likely. Still it can crop up, so the declarer was wise not to pull the trump.

If South had decided to draw the trumps after regaining the lead (first trick taken with the ♠A, second and third won by the opponents with the A and ♠J, third by the dummy’s ♣A, fourth by the declarer’s K) and led hearts – he would have had to lead hearts four times and to give up one more trick to East’s J.

The declarer would have run out of trumps as after winning the trick with the J, East would probably have led clubs forcing South to ruff. South would then have been left holding three diamonds with three diamonds on the table and the Q offside in East’s hand. South could have taken one more trick with the A, but the last two tricks would have been won by East with the Q and ♣Q.

Par Contract Analysis

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

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