Bridge Deal of the Week (May 17 2017)

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Problem

The Auction:

West North East South
      1
2NT 4NT Pass 5
Pass 5NT Pass 6
Pass 7NT all pass  

 

South opens the auction with 1♣, West overcalls 2NT (the Unusual notrump, showing at least 5-5 in the two lowest unbid suits). North asks for aces with 4NT, South responds with 5 (two aces). Next North asks for kings with 5NT and South responds with 6 (one king).

North declares 7NT. We offer you to take the North seat and find a way to 13 tricks.

East leads the 6.

Contract: 7NT

Vulnerable: NS

 

 

 

Solution

You take the first trick with dummy’s ace, no stopper in diamonds now. You can count five tricks in clubs; to make 7NT you need all four tricks in spades and three in hearts. But you only have the ♠AKJ and AKJ, both queens are missing.

Luckily you can make guesses based on the information from auction. West’s overcall 2NT – the Unusual convention – means that West has at least 5+ diamonds and 5+ hearts. So it can be assumed West has the Q. With a two-suited hand, West can only have a short holding in spades/clubs, so East probably holds most of the missing spades.

You take the next trick with dummy’s ♣J, and then lead a club from dummy to your ace (tricks 2, 3). West discards the 9.

Now you take a trick with the ♣K, West discards the 7 (trick 4). The next two tricks you take with the ♣Q (both opponents discard spades) and with the ♣9, this time both opponents discard diamonds (tricks 5, 6).

With two spades down the opponents have only three spades left. You lead a small spade, West plays the ♠4, you play the ♠J from dummy, which holds (trick 7). West discards another heart – East has the last two spades.

If West had five hearts, only two should be left now, so next you can lead a small heart from dummy. West covers with the Q, your king wins this trick (trick 8).

The next trick is won with the J, then you lead the ♠8 to dummy’s king (tricks 9, 10). Dummy’s A wins the next trick; you discard the J and lead the ♠9 to your ace (tricks 11, 12). As East’s ♠Q falls under your ace you take the last trick with your ♠5 (trick 13).

 

   KJ93  
   A52  
   A8  
   J764  
 7 Deal  Q1064
 Q10976  843
 KQ9743  652
2  1085
   A852  
   KJ  
   J10  
   AKQ93  

A real choice of slams hand, alternatively South/North could have played 7♣ or 7♠, although the declarer misses a king and three queens.

There was actually one more way to take all 13 tricks playing 7NT. After taking the first three tricks (with the A, the ♣J, then the ♣A), North could have taken the next two with the ♠A and ♣K.

Next the declarer could have led a small spade to dummy’s 9 (guessing that East holds the last three spades) and a small club from dummy to the ♣Q (tricks 6, 7). Now the declarer could have led a small spade towards dummy’s ♠KJ and won two tricks in spades (tricks 8, 9).

Played this way – North leads spades four times and clubs four times, West, who held a single spade and single club, is forced to discard six times. West would have probably kept the Qxx and the K as the last four cards.

Now if the declarer would have led a small heart from dummy and finessed the J, then led the ♣9, West would have been squeezed and had to give up either the K or the small heart protecting the queen. Either way North could have won the last three tricks.

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Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this hand is 7NT by South/North.

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