Bridge Deal of the Week (November 01 2017)Click here for Archives / Discussion Boards
South started with 1NT, North responded with 2♦ (Jacoby transfer), South made a relay bid to 2♥. North bid 3NT to show strength and South declared 4♥.
West led the ♥4. South played the ♥8 from dummy. East discarded the ♣8 and as the declarer played the ♥3 from hand, dummy`s ♥8 won the first trick (trick 1).
Can you advise South – how to win 10 tricks?
Contract: 4♥ by South
On the first glance the declarer might lose quite a lot of tricks. South can count on five tricks with hearts and two in spades. But the declarer is going to lose 2 tricks in diamonds – missing the ♦A and ♦K; 1 or 2 tricks in clubs – depending on the layout of cards and even an additional trick in spades.
Besides West`s opening lead revealed a bad split in hearts – 5-0. But there is hope, as South has a solid 5-card suit of diamonds. If diamonds could be established, South might be able to make it.
Thus the declarer should lead a small diamond from dummy first, and play the ♦10 from hand (East played a small diamond too). West wins the trick with the ♦K (trick 2) and leads the ♥2. Now the declarer has to win this trick in dummy`s hand and play a high heart from dummy – higher than the ♥J10 he holds – to be able to lead a small diamond towards his ♦QJ again.
South takes the trick with dummy`s ♥A, East discards the ♦9 (trick 3). The declarer leads a diamond from dummy. East`s ♦A wins the trick (trick 4), West discards the ♣10.
Bingo, no dummy`s diamonds are winners! East leads the ♠10 to South`s ♠A (trick 5). Now all that remains to do is to draw the trumps. South leads the ♥J and wins the trick with dummy`s ♥K, leads the ♥Q from dummy and discards the ♠J, leads the ♥9 from dummy and discards a small club (tricks 6, 7, 8).
Now the declarer can lead a small spade to his King and cash in three diamond winners (tricks 9, 10, 11, 12). West wins the last trick with the ♣A (trick 13).
West`s choice of leading hearts every time he got a lead was the best defense. This way the declarer was forced to play two hearts every time reducing the chance South might be able to ruff into hand. And of course West had honors in all the other suits, which made leading a heart the safest.
But the declarerВґs key to the victory was establishing the diamonds. And a crucial step was winning the third trick (when West led trumps the second time) with dummyВґs ♥A – instead of taking the trick in hand. This enabled to lead a diamond from dummy`s hand towards the ♦QJ. East grabbed this trick with the ♦A and dummy`s three diamonds were promoted into winners while communication was not yet disrupted between the hands.
The ♠AK provided much need entry points into South`s hand and the last trump, the ♥J enabled South to make a trump lead to draw the remaining trumps.
Had the declarer played the ♥9 from dummy and won the third trick with the ♥J or ♥10 in his hand, then there would have been no way to avoid going down. Even if South had led a diamond, West could have ruffed, East would have maintained the threat with the ♦A and South`s diamonds would have been of no help. The opponents would have taken two additional tricks (one in clubs and one in spades).
Par Contract Analysis
The par contract on this deal is 3♥ by South (North).
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