Bridge Deal of the Week (September 27 2017)

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The Auction:

West North East South
1♣ 1 2 Pass
3♣ Pass 3 Dbl
4♣ Pass 5♣ all pass


West opened with 1♣, North overcalled with 1. East responded 2. South passed. West continued with 3♣. North passed. East bid 3 (Strength-showing cuebid), South doubled. West bid 4♣, North passed and South bid 5♣, which became the final contract.

North leads the K. We invite you to take the South seat – can you find a way to defeat the contract?

Vulnerable: none

Contract: 5♣ by West


North has led the K, the declarer plays a small heart from dummy. North bid hearts, so he has at least 5 hearts. He would never lead a King without protection, so North has to have the Queen also.

You hold the Ax – if you play a small heart now and North repeats the heart lead, your Ace is going to win the trick. But as you have a doubleton, you cannot lead hearts for the third time after this sequence. You take the trick with your A (trick 1) and return a heart. North`s Q wins the trick (trick 2). North leads the 2 next and the declarer plays the J from dummy.

You are going to ruff, but should you ruff low or high? If North had a 5-card suit of hearts, then West has one more. If North had a 6-card suit of hearts, then West doesnВґt hold any more hearts.

West insisted clubs, so he should hold at least some of the top honors – but what if North has a high club too, the ♣Q for instance? if you ruff high, the declarer is forced to overruff with the Ace or King to avoid losing the third trick in row. And that might help your partner, if North has a high trump card, it might be promoted into winner.

As after winning the first two tricks you cannot spot glimmering prospects for your side to take more tricks, you play the ♣J. West overruffs with the ♣A (trick 3) and leads the J to dummyВґs Ace (trick 4). The declarer leads a small club from dummy and takes the trick with the ♣K next (trick5).

West leads a small club then – and North wins the trick with the ♣Q (trick 6)! North leads diamonds, West takes this trick with the K and leads a spade to dummyВґs Ace (tricks 7, 8). Next the declarer leads the Q, then the 10 from dummy discarding two spades (tricks 9, 10). After that the declarer claims – he holds three clubs (tricks 11, 12, 13).

 1097 Deal  AQ2
 94  J73
 KJ  AQ104
 AK9862  1075

Although East/West could have taken 11 tricks: 6 tricks in clubs – both the ♣Q and ♣J would have fallen if the declarer would have gotten the lead earlier and pulled the AK; one trick with the ♠A and four tricks with diamonds discarding spades, all the defense needed to defeat the contract was the right handling of hearts and a successful uppercut.

North chose hearts as the opening lead – his longest suit and the K from the sequence KQ10xxx – both safe and aggressive. Even if the opponents had the Ace, North still held the Queen to control the suit.

South overtook his partner`s King with the Ace thus unblocking the suit – knowing North had long hearts and led back a heart. This way the defense won the first two tricks. When North led hearts again, South successfully used the uppercut ruffing high hoping that an overruff by the declarer will result in the promotion his partner's trump card into a winner.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 4♣ by West/East.

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