Bridge Deal of the Week (January 10 2018)

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Problem

West North East South
  Pass 2♠* 3♣
3♠ Dbl Pass ?
       

* spades and a minor

North passed. East opened with 2♠, an artificial bid, which means a weak two-suited hand, promising spades and a minor. South overcalled 3♣. West advanced to 3♠. North doubled. North`s double means North must have strength.

What should South bid?

Vulnerable: North/South

Contract: ?

Solution

South has 15 HCP, six clubs, a 4-card suit of spades and a singleton heart. Should South bid 3NT as North`s double means North and South hold together around 25HCP?

If South gets carried away with the idea of 3NT, the consequences will be sad. West will lead the Q, and East will perform the Crocodile coup by winning the trick with the A to unblock hearts (trick 1). East will lead back the J, West will win this trick with the K (trick 2) and take 4 more tricks with hearts (tricks 3, 4, 5, 6).

If the declarer gets lucky, West will lead a club next, so South can win all the rest of the tricks – contract down -2. But most probably West will lead a spade to dummy`s singleton Ace next and as both diamonds and clubs are split unevenly, the declarer will have to concede one more trick either in clubs or in diamonds – contract down -3.

Of course South should declare 5♣. Things would be different if South played 5♣. The declarer has only two losers – one hearts trick and one in clubs. If clubs were distributed evenly, even a slam could be played.

   A  
   7652  
   KQ754  
   743  
K103 Deal  J9874
 KQ10984  AJ
 6 109832
Q102  8
  Q652  
  3  
  AJ  
  AKJ965  

If the contract played would have been 5♣, West would have led the ♠3 to dummy`s Ace (trick 1). The declarer could have led a club from dummy and played the ♣A as East played the ♣8 (trick 2). South could have taken another trick with the A to unblock the diamonds (trick 3) and led the singleton heart. East`s J would have won this trick (trick 4). East would have led the A next, South ruffed (trick 5) and led the J. West would have ruffed (trick 6) and le the K.

South could have ruffed again and led the ♣K to take the last trump – West`s ♣Q (tricks 7, 8). Now South could have led a spade and ruffed (trick 9) to gain entrance to dummy`s hand and led the K and Q from dummy, discarding spades (tricks 10, 11). The last two tricks belong to South, whose last cards are clubs (tricks 12, 13).

Of course South had to bid. If South would have passed after North doubled, then East would have 3♠ Dbl. South could have won 1 trick with the ♣A, 1 trick ruffing hearts, 1 trick with the A and 1 trick with the ♠Q. North would have won 1 trick with the ♠A.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 5♣ by North/South.

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