Bridge Deal of the Week (July 05 2017)

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The Auction:

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


South opens with 1♣, North responds 1♠. South continues with 2NT showing strength, North declares 3NT. West leads the 6. We invite you to take the South seat – you have four tricks in spades and three aces. Can you find two more tricks?

Contract: 3NT by South

Vulnerable: none


You have only one stopper in hearts. If West has five hearts and East three, you have to hold up twice to exhaust East’s hearts. You play a small heart from dummy; East takes the trick with the K (trick 1) and leads the J. You duck again, West wins this trick with the Q (trick 2) and leads hearts for the third time, this time your ace wins this trick (trick 3).

To find extra tricks you have to establish diamonds or clubs. You miss the kings in both these suits. If West has the missing two hearts, you cannot finesse clubs and risk West getting the lead with the ♣K. So you lead the Q and East’s king wins the trick (trick 4). East leads the ♣6, obviously East doesn’t have any hearts left. You cannot let West win this trick, so you play the ♣A (trick 5).

Now you take the next tricks with the ♠K and ♠Q, then another one with the Q (tricks 6, 7, 8) and lead a small diamond to dummy’s ace (trick 9). Then you cash in dummy’s 10 and ♠AJ (tricks 10, 11, 12). Now you can lead clubs and let West win the last trick with the ♣K (trick 13).



 862 Deal  10543
 Q9762  KJ3
 94  K872
 K92 76

By combining hold up play with avoidance play, the declarer found the extra tricks needed by establishing diamonds.

If South had taken the first or second trick with the A, hearts would have been defenseless and if either opponent regained the lead, they would have cashed in their tricks in hearts. By holding up twice, East’s hearts were exhausted and communication disrupted between the opponents.

Also the declarer had to prevent West regaining the lead (avoidance play) as he believed West held the winners in hearts after the hold up play. Thus he had no choice but to establish diamonds. Even if hearts would have been split 4-4 and East had led hearts after winning the trick with the K, the declarer would have made it, losing only three tricks: three in hearts and one in diamonds.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 4♠ by North/South

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