Bridge Deal of the Week (October 18 2017)

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The Auction:

West North East South
1♠ 4♦! Dbl 4
Pass 4NT Pass 5♠
Pass Pass Pass  

! - Splinter bid, 0-1 diamonds, 4+ support for hearts

South opened with 1, West overcalled 1♠. North jumped to 4 – a splinter bid which promised at least 4-card support for hearts, 0-1 diamonds and slam interest. East doubled (diamonds).

South bid 4. West passed. But instead of passing, North asked for aces. Moreover, South knew North had not mastered RKCB-keycard responses and had to respond with 5♠ to show 3 aces, already feeling giddy due to the heights where North`s bidding had taken them. After all South had nothing but aces and spaces.

West doubled (spades) and North declared 6, which became the final contract.

West led the A. As dummy hit the table, 4 HCP stared back to South. Can South get out of this jam and win 12 tricks?

Vulnerable: both

Contract: 6 by North/South


South ruffed the diamonds in dummy (trick 1). The hand looked promising – with strong hearts and a 10 -card suit of clubs South could hope to lose only one trick in clubs and bring home the rest. The tricky part being how not to lose entry points to dummyВґs hand – the opening lead in diamonds already removed one.

The declarer led a club from dummy, East`s ♣K and the ♣J from West dropped under South`s ♣A (trick 2). South led the ♣10, West won the trick with the ♣Q, East discarded a diamond (trick 3).

West led the ♠Q to South`s ♠A (trick 4). Dummy`s clubs were all winners, but clubs couldn`t be run before trumps were taken care of. South led a small heart to dummy`s King (trick 5). Both opponents followed, West played the 2 and East the 7. The declarer led the J from dummy next, which won the trick as East played the 6, the declarer ducked and West showed out pitching a diamond (trick 6).

The declarer could not pull the last trump as after that there would be no way to return to dummy`s hand. Instead South led a club from dummy. East ruffed with the Q, South overruffed with the A (trick 7), led a small spade, ruffed in dummy (trick 8) and claimed – all dummy`s clubs were good (tricks 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).



 QJ987 Deal  K106
 2  Q76
 AKQ107  J98654
♣ QJ  K

North`s aggressive bidding and choice of the splinter bid – a jump to 4 to show a singleton or void – and Blackwood for aces at 4 level, got a small slam for North/South. If North had answered with a more tame response after West`s overcall of 1♠ – be it a cuebid of spades or 3 or 4 (both weak, promising a 4-card support in hearts), East/West could have probably discovered not only a fit in spades, but a fit in diamonds too and stolen the contract.

Of course it was South`s play that got North/South out of this jam. South`s careful handling of the trump suit prevented the opponents from profiting from the 3-1 trump split and maintained an entry point to dummy`s winning clubs.

South guessed correctly that East had the majority of trumps, based on East`s reluctance to go along with spades during the auction and due to East having only a singleton club. Visualized this painted a picture of East`s hand as consisting of 2-3 spades, 5+ diamonds, 1 club and more than 1 or 2 hearts.

South`s guess about the uneven trump split proved right and the declarer could catch the Q with an elegant trump coup.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 7 Dbl -3 by West/East.

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