Bridge Deal of the Week (June 28 2017)

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The Auction:

West North East South
  1♣ Pass 1
1♠ 2♣ 2♠ 3
Pass 5♣ Pass ?


North has opened the auction with 1♣, South responded 1. West overcalled 1♠, North repeated clubs, East raised to 2♠ to show support. South bid 3. North jumped to 5♣. We invite you to take the South seat – what are you going to bid?


Vulnerable: none


North has not supported your hearts or diamonds and the opponents have the spades. North has been very persistently insisting on his clubs and by jumping to 5 level has also confirmed strength. So you have a choice of passing or going on.

You have five hearts, five diamonds, two spades and a singleton club; you hold stoppers in hearts and diamonds – three quick tricks. If North has a strong hand and holds a really long suit of clubs, it doesn’t matter that you have a singleton – your partner is probably not looking for support in clubs, but rather for stoppers in other suits as he probably has a short side suit or two.

Also, with the AK and the A on the table your partner might get a chance to discard, if he has a void or singleton.

Your weak point is doubleton in spades, but as both opponents have bid spades, you can hope that North has a singleton. You declare 6♣ and West doubles.

East leads a small spade so North’s singleton king falls under West’s ace (trick 1). West leads a small spade back, North ruffs (trick 2). North holds a 9-card suit of clubs (missing the ♣K), two diamonds and has two singletons: hearts and spades. So the declarer can take care of his side suite loser – a small diamond – by discarding it on dummy’s hearts.

North leads a small heart to dummy’s ace (trick 3), and leads the ♣7 next. West plays the ♣2, North plays the ♣Q, which holds (trick 4). Now the declarer can lead the ♣A, as West has only the ♣K left (trick 5), then lead a small diamond and cash in dummy’s A and K discarding the last diamond he has (tricks 6, 7). North claims then as now he has only six clubs (tricks 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

 AJ976 Deal  Q8532
 854  Q962
 KJ8  Q103
 K2 J

North had a magnificent hand, the probability of occurrence of this hand pattern (9-2-1-1) is 0, 00018. Of course with a 9-card suit of clubs North might have preempted and opened the auction with 5♣. But a preemptive bid in first seat can cause problems if partner has a strong hand – he will have a hard time in deciding what to bid.

Of course with a really weak hand it makes sense to preempt and jump quickly to an unusually high level, but with a strong hand it is more advantageous to build up slowly, which hopefully allows the partnership to determine the right contract.

Here North’s jump bid of 5♣ showed both strength and length allowing South to reach the right decision and attempt slam as he held three stoppers.

Even if East had led diamonds taking away one entry point to dummy’s hand, hearts would have provided communication and the result would have been the same – 6♣. The declarer decided in favor of finessing the ♣Q based on West’s double.

Par Contract Analysis

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

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