Bridge Deal of the Week (April 26 2017)

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Problem

The Auction:

West North East South
    Pass 1
Pass 1♠ Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 4NT
Pass 5 Pass 6
all pass      

South opened the auction with 1, North responded with 1♠, South advanced to 2. North showed support for hearts and 6-11 HCP with 3. South bid 4NT (Blackwood), North responded with 5 (1 keycard). South declared 6.

West leads the ♣Q. We invite you to take the seat of South and find a way to 12 tricks.

 

Contract: 6S

Solution

You win the first trick with dummy’s ace.

Two problems need your attention: after the first trick you have only small clubs in both hands with no stopper – so you must find a way to get rid of one of your clubs, and you must locate the missing the trump queen.

In addition to that the opening lead by West removed an entry point to dummy. However, after taking two tricks in diamonds, you can ruff the third one and thus regain entry to dummy.

You lead the 10 from dummy, East plays the J, you take the trick with the A (trick 2) and take the next two with the A, then the K (tricks 3, 4).

Before you cross over to dummy you take a trick with the ♠A to unblock the suit, then lead a diamond and ruff (tricks 5, 6). Now you can lead the ♠K and discard one of your small clubs (trick 7).

The opponents have four spades left, so you can quite safely lead a small spade from dummy and ruff (trick 8). Only one diamond remains in the defenders` hands, so here you need a bit of luck, but the only trump higher than the dummy’s 7 the opponents hold is the trump queen – as the opponents have the Q62. You lead a diamond, West discards the ♠10, you ruff (trick 9). Next you lead the ♠7 from dummy, East discards a club, you ruff (trick 10).

Now the opponents have three hearts and three clubs. You cannot lead your K or the 9, as one of the opponents (probably East) holds the Qx and thus you could lose two tricks – one in hearts and one in clubs. It is better to lead a club and put the defenders on lead.

So you lead a small club next, West plays the ♣J, East wins the trick with the ♣K (trick 11) and leads the 2.

You play the 9, which holds and take the last trick with the K (tricks 12, 13).

 

   K763  
   1075  
   J2  
   A1097  
 Q10982 Deal  J54
 64  QJ2
 Q93  10765
 QJ3  K84
   A  
   AK983  
   AK84  
   652  

West chose a good opening lead, which knocked out an entry point to dummy. But to discard one of the clubs and thus avoid losing two tricks in clubs, the declarer needed to find a way to cross over to dummy to lead the ♠K. Ruffing the third diamond trick offered the opportunity.

As dummy had only three hearts, South didn’t have enough trumps for both – to finesse trumps twice and to ruff diamonds twice. If the declarer had chosen to finesse trumps twice, he would have ended up losing two tricks – one in diamonds and the other in clubs. So the declarer had to catch the Q without finessing.

To avoid losing a trick with the Q, the declarer endplayed East, who was forced to underlead the Q, offering a free finesse. As West did not ruff the diamond trick and East didn’t trump spades, the declarer knew East held the Q.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 6 by South/North.

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