Bridge Deal of the Week (December 06 2017)

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The Auction:

West North East South
    1♠ 2
Pass 2 Pass 2♠
Pass 3NT all pass  


East opened with 1♠. South overcalled 2. West passed and North responded with 2. East passed. South bid 2♠– strength-showing cuebid. West passed and North declared 3NT.

East didn`t lead spades – as North`s 3NT indicated a stopper in spades. Instead East led the ♣7. The ♣Q54 are on the table. North holds a singleton ♣10.

What should North play?

Vulnerable: North/South

Contract: 3NT


The declarer has six tricks with diamonds and five tricks with hearts –if hearts break even – and can count on a trick with the ♠Q. This happy ending fairytale will only become reality if North can gain the lead.

Unfortunately East has led a club –the declarer`s side has only four clubs. The lone ♣10 and the ♣Q are not exactly a shining armor against the swords of enemy. If one of the opponents has five clubs, North could lose five tricks in clubs and two tricks in spades.

East opened the auction – could this mean that East has the ♣AK? But if East has the ♠AK, then perhaps East (with 14 HCP)would not have passed so quickly, but had showed clubs on the second round. On the other hand, does West`s steady passing mean West has little or no HCP?

East uses fourth-best leads, so this means the other three hands have four clubs higher than the ♣7. The declarer has one of them and dummy has another. This means West has two clubs higher than the seven.

Should North play the ♣Q from dummy? If West has the ♣A or the ♣K, then the queen`s and the declarerВґs fate is decided. But if West has a higher honor than the Queen and a lower spot card than the ten, then a low card from dummy will be sufficient – North should play a low club.

After North played the ♣4 from dummy, West won the first trick with the ♣A and led a spade (trick 1). North played low, East`s ♠A took the second trick (trick 2). East took a third one with the ♣K (trick 3), North discarded a spade. East won the fourth trick with the ♠K (trick 4) and led spades once more.

North discarded a small heart from dummy`s hand, West discarded a diamond and North`s ♠Q won the trick (trick 5). Now the declarer was out of the danger and could cash in the rest of tricks. North started by leading the A, swallowing the dummy`s king, then led the Q, discarding a small diamond from dummy (tricks 6, 7).

Next the declarer led a diamond to dummy`s A and cashed in the ♣Q, then all the rest of the diamonds (tricks 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).


 86 Deal  AK1052
 J104  932
 10873  -
A962  KJ873





North certainly gambled a bit by declaring 3NT. As often is the case, not the suit the opponents had bid, but another suit turned out to be the most problematic one for the declarer.

But second hand low is sound advice not only for defense, but for declarer play too. If the declarer played a low card from dummy, then even if West had had the ♣AK, the queen would have hold. And if the ♣A and ♣K were split between the opponents – as was the case – then the ♣10 North held offered enough protection against the initial attack.



Par Contract Analysis

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

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