Bridge Deal of the Week (January 31 2018)

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Problem

West North East South
      1
Pass 2♣ Pass 3
Pass 4NT Pass 5♠
Pass 6 Pass Pass
Pass      

 

South started with 1. West passed. North responded 2♣. South jumped to 3 (at least 6 hearts and +14 HCP). North, who had a 2-card support for South`s hearts and 15 HCP asked for aces with 4NT. South responded 5♠ – 2 keycards and the trump queen. North declared 6.

West led the A and won the first trick (trick 1).

Despite the great 9-card trump suit and 29 HCP this small slam is not chiseled in stone. The declarer misses the A and has a loser in spades.  What tactics would you suggest to the declarer to win 12 tricks?

Dealer: South

Vul: North/South

Contract: 6by South

Solution

West switched to clubs next leading the ♣4. South took the trick with dummy`s ♣A (trick 2), led a diamond from dummy and ruffed (trick 3).

The declare took two more tricks, first leading the K, then a small heart to dummy´s A. Both opponents followed suit both times, so trumps were pulled successfully (tricks 4, 5).

South led a diamond from dummy and ruffed again (trick 6).

Holding seven cards, South had not yet solved the problem of the spade loser. The only solution seemed to squeeze – as defense had to guard the ♣Q, the ♠Q and hold tight to the K.

South led the Q and discarded a spade from dummy. Both West and East discarded a club (trick 7).

Next the declarer led the J and discarded the ♠9 from dummy. West discarded the ♣10; East discarded a spade (trick 8).

South led the last trump. West discarded the 10, the declarer discarded a club from dummy`s hand and East discarded a club (trick 9).  

With nine clubs gone, the opponents had only one club, the ♣Q, left, so South led the ♣J (West discarded a spade) and played the ♣K from dummy. East`s ♣Q fell under the King (trick 10).

Dummy`s last club won the next trick, everyone discarded spades (trick 11). Now South led a spade from dummy to his ♠A, the ♠K took the last trick (tricks 12, 13).

  ♠ J95  
  A2  
  QJ84  
  ♣ AK73  
♠ 1062 Deal ♠ Q843
87 95
AK1065 732
♣ 1084 ♣ Q952
  ♠ AK7  
   KQJ10643  
  9  
  ♣ J6  

After the declarer started squeezing, there were only bad and worse choices for the defense left.  

East had to guard both clubs and spades. West had to keep the K or else dummy´s Q would have scored a trick. Both discarded clubs, which enabled the declarer to win an extra trick in clubs.

East held four spades – Qxxx and three clubs – Qxx as the last seven cards. When the declarer had led hearts two times, East had discarded a spade and a club.

When the declarer led the last heart, East was squeezed in a tight corner. If East had chosen to discard a spade, then the declarer`s small spade would have been promoted into winner – after winning a trick with the dummy`s ♣K, the declarer could have led the ♠J from dummy.  Both and East and West would have had only two spades left, so South could have won the last three tricks with the three spades he held.

 

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 6 by South/North.

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