Bridge Deal of the Week (April 11 2018)

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The Auction:

West North East South
    Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Pass  

South started with 1. North responded with 2♣. South repeated hearts – 2, and North repeated clubs – 3♣.

South declared 3NT.

The auction was uneventful, but can South win nine tricks?

West led the ♠4 (fourth-best lead).

Vulnerable: North/South

Contract: 3NT


The declarer can count on 8 top tricks – the ♠AK, the KQJ3 (if hearts are split evenly) and the ♣AK. The QJ will become winners too before the sun sets, but no doubt defense will use every chance they gain lead to lead spades. The 9-card suit of clubs offers most hope.

South played a small spade from dummy`s hand, East sacrificed the ♠Q, thus South won the first trick with the ♠A (trick 1) and led the K.

West took this trick with the A (trick 2) and led the ♠3 to dummy`s king (trick 3). The declarer led a small club. East played the ♣J and South won this trick with the ♣K (trick 4).

If the dropped ♣J means East had a singleton and clubs are split 3-1, then the ♣Q is onside and South can finesse. The declarer cashed in four tricks with hearts first leading the Q, then the J, 10 and the 3 (tricks 5, 6, 7, 8).

South believed he had guessed the distribution of clubs right and had the courage to discard all the diamonds from dummy`s hand on hearts. West got the idea and discarded a club.

So, when the declarer led a club next, West`s ♣Q dropped, South won the trick with dummy´s ♣A (trick 9) and won four more tricks with dummy`s clubs (tricks 10, 11, 12, 13).

  ♠ K6  
  ♣ Q1093  
♠ J8543 Deal ♠ Q109
A975 862
A K87642
♣ Q83 ♣ J
  ♠ A72  
  ♣ K74  

The success of 3NT depended on getting the clubs right and the declarer was successful. It really depended on the first trick – if South had won the first trick with dummy`s ♠K, then led a heart and lost the trick to West´s A and West led spades again, then South`s ♠A would have won the third trick.

And if South had then played a small club to dummy`s Ace, then West would have taken four more tricks – with the A, ♣Q and three tricks with spades. The contract would have gone down -1.

So 3NT was tricky. But North and South could have successfully played the contract of 4♣ or 4, if either had been stubborn enough to stick to his suit and bid on.

Par Contract Analysis

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

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