Bridge Deal of the Week (November 22 2017)

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Problem

West North East South
      1
Pass 1 1♠ 3NT
Pass Pass Pass  

South started with 1. West passed. North responded with 1, East overcalled 1♠. South jumped to 3NT, this became the final contract. West led the 7.

We invite you to take the South seat – how many tricks can you take?

 

Vulnerable: both

Contract: 3NT

Solution

A small heart from dummy, the J drops from East and you win the first trick with the A (trick 1). This probably means that West holds all the rest of hearts and East had a singleton. There`s no hope in establishing hearts anyway, but your diamonds shine dazzlingly.

You start by taking a trick with the K, then lead the 10 to dummy`s A (tricks 2, 3). West`s Q drops, so East should have the J.

As East opened the bidding, East should have around 12 HCP. You and your partner have 23 HCP both hands combined, this leaves West with about 5 HCP. West has already dropped the Q and in all probability holds the Q.

This means that East might have all the missing honors, or at least most of them – the ♠AQ and the ♣KQ. If East indeed holds the J (and West didn`t play the Q from the sequence of the QJ), you can easily force the lead on East.

It is time to test your theory. You lead a small diamond from dummy – East wins the trick with the J (trick 4). East leads the ♣K, you win the trick with the ♣A (trick 5) and lead a club back.

East takes the trick with the ♣Q (trick 6) and leads the ♠7. You play a small spade and so dummy`s ♠10 wins this trick (trick 7). Next you lead dummy`s last spade, East`s ♠A wins the trick (trick 8). Obviously East does not want to lead a spade to your ♠KJ, so East leads the ♣2 to dummy`s ♣J (trick 9).

You cash in dummy`s 9, East discards a spade (trick 10), lead a heart from dummy to your Ace – East discards the last club (trick 11) and take the ninth trick with the ♠K (trick 12). The last trick belongs to East with the ♠Q (trick 13).

 

   102  
   8642  
   A954  
   J108  
 63 Deal  AQ974
 Q109753  J
 Q6  J83
764  KQ92
  KJ85  
  AK  
  K1072  
  A53

 

 

 

 

South had a strong hand, but 3NT was a bit stretched. The declarer could count on 2 tricks in hearts (the AK), 3 tricks with diamonds (if the split was a favorable one – 3-2) and had to find a way to win two tricks with spades and two tricks with clubs.

West with a doubleton in spades guessed that if spades were led, the declarer would get a free finesse – after all South declared 3NT after East`s overcall of 1♠ – and chose hearts as the opening lead. But South read the cards right and forced East on lead repeatedly, thus East sacrificed the ♣K and was confined to only two tricks in spades allowing the declarer to take nine tricks.

 

Par Contract Analysis

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

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