Bridge Deal of the Week (November 08 2017)

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Problem

The Auction:

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

 

South opened with 1♣, North responded 1. South proceeded to 1NT, West doubled 8-18 HCP, 4+ spades and 4+ diamonds), North declared 3NT, which became the final contract.

West led the ♠Q. How should the declarer play?

 

Vulnerable: both

Contract: 3NT by South

 

 

Solution

The declarer holds the ♠Kx and dummy has the ♠Axxxx. So South can win the first trick either way. But West`s double might mean West has five spades and if this is true, West can win three tricks with spades after the declarer cashes in the ♠AK. South is missing the AK, and West might well hold one or both of the missing honors, which pose a very real threat.

Therefore South should duck and let West win the first trick (trick 1).

Finding nine tricks will not be easy. The declarer has the AKJ – three more tricks could be won with diamonds –West being marked for the Q. The declarer can also hope for at least two tricks in clubs. Of course there are the ♠A and ♠K. But South needs two more tricks.

South can choose between hearts and clubs as a potential trick provider. Seemingly clubs are stronger, but if West indeed holds 5 spades and 4 diamonds, there is not much room left for hearts and clubs. Therefore East can have a rather long suit of clubs. And if the ♣QKA are all played in the same trick, the ♣J will provided one more trick, but the opponents still hold the 10 and 9.

West led a small diamond next – South played the J form dummy, which held (trick 2). South led the ♣Q and ducked as East played a small club (trick 3). Then the declarer led the 3 from dummy. East played the 4 and South the 8. West won the trick with the A (trick 4) and led a heart back. South played a small heart from dummy and East had the 10, so the declarer won the trick with the J (trick 5).

Now it was safe for the declarer to lead his last heart – dummy had the Q9, even if hearts were split unevenly and one of the opponents had the Kx, one extra trick was there and diamonds provided an entry point to dummy`s hand. But West had one more heart, East won this trick with the K (trick 6). Hearts were definitely better choice, as East must have had a 5-card suit of clubs.

The declarer was out of the danger – the ♠AK, AK, ♣A and the last heart provided the six tricks needed.

West led the ♣K, South won the trick with the ♣A, led the ♠K to unblock spades and then a diamond to dummy`s King (tricks 7, 8, 9). The declarer cashed in dummy` s last heart, the ♠A and led a diamond to his Ace (tricks 10, 11, 12). The last trick belonged to East with the ♣10 (trick 13).

   A762  
   Q963  
   KJ9  
   QJ  
 QJ985 Deal  104
 A72  K104
 Q765  832
3  K10964
  K3  
  J85  
  A104  
  A8752

 

 

 

 

To make the contract the declarer had to duck the first trick to disrupt the communication between the opponents. West had five spades while East held two and as East didn`t play the ♠10, West didnВґt want to lead spades again – after winning the first trick with the ♠Q, West would have had to lead from a tenace – the ♠J9.

If West could have established spades before hearts were played, the contract would have gone down as West`s A provided an entry point.

If the declarer won the first trick with the ♠A or K, and East would have gained the lead with the K after that, then East might have led the ♠10 removing the other top honor. And if West would have gained the lead then with the A, then the contract would have gone down.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 3NT by South (North).

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