Bridge Deal of the Week (March 22 2017)

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Problem

West North East South
Pass Pass 1♠ 2♠*
Pass 3 Pass Pass
4♠ all pass    

* Michaels cuebid - over an opponent's major opening, this cuebid shows the other major and a minor suit.

East opened 1♠, South overcalled 2♠ (Michaels - hearts and an unspecified minor), West passed and North called 3. East and South passed. West declared 4♠. We invite you to take the South seat with the objective to defeat the contract. How many tricks can you take?

 

Contract: 4♠ West/East

Vulnerable: none

 

 

 

Solution

Everything begins with the opening lead. The suit chosen for the opening lead should be the one that offers the best chance of defeating the contract.

You could choose either hearts or clubs as the opening lead. But taking into account the auction – North showed support for hearts – you decide to lead hearts as this is the suit where your combined strength lies.

You lead the J; East takes the trick with the A (trick 1) and leads a small heart back. North wins the trick with the Q (trick 2) and leads the K, East ruffs (trick 3) and leads the ♣J. You play the ♣K; dummy’s ♣A wins the trick (trick 4).

The declarer leads a small club from dummy, North plays the ♣7, which holds (trick 5) and leads diamonds. East plays the K, you win the trick with the A (trick 6) and lead diamonds back. East takes the trick with the Q (trick 7) and leads a small spade.

North wins this trick with the ♠A and the next one with the 10 (tricks 8, 9) and leads the ♣9 next. East ruffs, and takes the last three tricks with the ♠Q, the ♠J and the ♠K (tricks 10, 11, 12, 13).

 

   A85  
   KQ9  
   10764  
   962  
 K974 Deal  QJ1063
 1082  A6
 953  KQ82
 A103  J5
   2  
   J7543  
   AJ  
   KQ864  

The declarer had 4 or 5 losers depending on play – the ♠A, the A and he faced losing 1 trick in clubs and 1 or 2 in diamonds.

Heart lead was crucial. If hearts were not played promptly, then East could have easily ditched one, thus avoiding losing a trick in hearts.

If South had led the ♣K, the declarer could have ducked and thrown the ♣J from hand. South would have probably led hearts next – but now East could have taken this trick with the A and led a small club. No matter whether South ducked or not, East could have taken two tricks with dummy’s clubs, disccarding a heart from hand; thus avoiding losing the trick in hearts.

The other key element was diamonds – as North held 10xxx, and South held a tenace – defense could get two tricks in diamonds, but only if they took the KQ out before spades were played. If South had not led diamonds back, then the declarer could have been able to ditch one diamond. But the way it was played North was able to regain the lead and take the second trick in diamonds.

 

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 3♠ doubled by West/East -1.

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