Bridge Deal of the Week (September 06 2017)

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The Auction:

West North East South
Pass 2 Pass 2♠
Pass 3 Pass 3♠
Pass 3NT Pass ?

South opened with 1♠, North responded 2. South repeated spades, North bid 3. South bid spades for the third time, North declared 3 NT. If you were South – what would you do? Should you pass or go on?

Vulnerable: none

Contract: ?



You have eight spades, a singleton diamond and doubleton hearts & clubs. North surely has stoppers in hearts and diamonds and a decent point count to declare 3NT. Your only weak spot seems to be clubs and if North does not have spade support, transportation will become difficult.

But if North holds stoppers in hearts and diamonds, you might try a slam in spades. As someone once said: “Never lay an 8-card suit on the table”. You call 4NT. North responds 5 (2 keycards) and you declare 6♠.

West leads the ♣4, a small club from dummy and as East plays the ♣K, you take the trick with the ♣A (trick 1).

Whether you can win 12 tricks depends on how you play spades – you miss both the ♠K and ♠J and dummy has only a singleton spade – if you decide in favor of finessing, you can try only once.

Dummy has the AK and the AK, so you have no problems with the side suits – you can easily discard a club loser on diamonds.

Before dealing with the trumps you need to settle the problem of clubs – after all, if you lose a trick in spades, then you donВґt want to lose the next one with clubs.

You lead a small diamond to dummy`s ace and take the next trick with the K, discarding your small club (tricks 2, 3).

It is time to deal with the trumps. You lead dummy`s small spade, West plays the ♠7 and you must decide. The question is eternal – to finesse or not to finesse.

You miss four spades, the ♠KJ9 included. If the split is 2-2 (probability 41%) and the ♠K onside, then you might catch the King on the second round if you finesse the Queen first. But if the split is 3-1 (probability 50%), you won`t. As dummy has only one spade you cannot double finesse.

You decide to play the ♠A on the first round. Indeed – West`s ♠K drops under your Ace (trick 4). Now you lead a heart to dummy`s Ace, then take a trick with dummy s K, lead the J and ruff (tricks 5, 6, 7).

Next you lead the ♠Q. West discards a club– so East had three spades and holds the ♠J9 (trick 8). Then you lead a small spade; East wins the trick with the ♠J (trick 9) and leads a club. As you have four spades, you can claim (tricks 10, 11, 12, 13).

 K Deal  J97
 Q842  53
 Q1043  976
 Q1054  K9762

The declarer was right to go for a slam as he only needed three stoppers from North and North had bid hearts and diamonds – exactly these suits where South needed support. (North could have won 11 tricks in NT – losing on trick in diamonds and one in clubs. )

The trump play is a key factor of success. South handled the spades well by choosing safety play and playing the ♠A first. The declarer knew he could afford to lose one trick and if West held a singleton honor, the declarer would catch it this way. If all tricks were needed, then the declarer should have risked the finesse.

Par Contract Analysis

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

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