Bridge Deal of the Week (September 20 2017)

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The Auction:

West North East South
  1 Pass 1
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Dbl all pass


North opened with 1♦. South responded 1. North jumped to 3. South declared 3NT. East doubled. Can you help South to plan the play – how to win 9 tricks?

West leads the Q.


Vulnerable: both

Contract: 3NT Dbl by South



East takes the first trick with the A (trick 1) and leads back clubs. Why didn’t East return hearts?

South has to play the ♣10 – in case East has no more hearts and chose to establish his long club suit – which wins the trick (trick 2). So East probably holds the ♣KJ.

Diamond time, South has to lead the J, a small diamond form dummy and East`s K wins the trick (trick 3). Now East leads the 4, South has to take the trick with the K (trick 4) and discard a spade from dummy`s hand.

Diamond time again, South has to lead his last diamond to dummy`s Ace (trick 5). A bad surprise, West discards a club, so East has still two diamonds – the 10 included – and the split was 4-1. South can take one more trick with the Q (discarding the ♠9 from hand, East discards another club) and has to give up one more trick in diamonds to promote his last diamonds into winners (trick 6).

South leads a diamond from dummy; East wins the trick with the 10 (trick7) and leads a spade.

The declarer has won 4 tricks and can count on 4 more (the ♠A, the ♣A and two diamonds) – one more is needed. The ♣K is probably offside and cannot be finessed. So the only hope for an extra trick is spades. East doubled and so far East has shown the A, the ♦K and has probably the ♣K – 10 HCP. It is doubtful East doubled with 10 HCP, most probably East holds the ♠K too.

Thus the declarer has to play the ♠10 hoping that East has underled the King again and risk the possibility that West, who still has three hearts, might get the lead.

West covers with the ♠J, so dummy`s ♠Q takes this trick (trick 8). Now South can cash in dummy’s two diamonds (tricks 9, 10) and the ♠A and ♣A (tricks 11, 12). The last trick belongs to East with the ♣K (trick 13).

 J653 Deal  K42
 QJ1062  A4
 5  K1043
 864  KJ72

3NT was a bit stretched, but it was worth trying. South could count on three tricks with the ♠A, ♣A and the K. An eight-card suit of diamonds can be enormous help, especially if the diamonds broke 3-2, then South would have lost only one trick in diamonds to the K. But the 4-1 split has the probability of 28 % and in this case East had four diamonds.

But even with five diamond tricks, South needed one more. Here East`s double came in helpful – East certainly had strength, but that didn’t help him – on the contrary, every time East won a trick, he was forced to underlead his King, giving the declarer free finesses in clubs and spades.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 2NT by North/South.

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