Bridge Deal of the Week (January 24 2018)

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Problem

West North East South
1♣ Pass 1 1♠
1NT 2♠ 3 3♠
Dbl Pass Pass Pass
       
       

West started the auction with 1♣. North passed. East responded 1. South, holding 13 HCP, decided to overcall – 1♠. West bid 1NT, North supported South`s spades with 2♠. East bid 3.  South went on – 3♠. West doubled and this became the final contract.

West takes the first trick with the ♣A (trick 1).

Everything seems rosy for South for there seem to be only three more losers – the ♠K might be offside and the declarer faces losing one trick in hearts and one in diamonds.

But 1NT and the consequent double by West hint heavily that spades won`t break even – how can South win 9 tricks?

Dealer: West

Vul: Both

Contract: 3♠ Dbl by South

Solution

West led the 9 next. South won the trick in hand with the K (trick 2), and led a club to dummy`s king (trick 3). The declarer led the ♠J from dummy; East followed suit, West won the trick with the ♠K (trick 4) and led a small diamond.

South`s took this trick with the A in hand (trick 5). But what to lead next?  If the declarer pulls all three trumps West has, the contract will go down as there is nothing to do with a heart and diamond loser and two clubs.

Leading hearts is out of the question – East held initially 5 hearts, dummy had 4 and the declarer 3 – leaving West with a singleton heart. West would ruff a heart lead, lead a small diamond to East hoping East can win the diamond trick and East will promptly lead a heart back – contract down -1.

That leaves diamonds and clubs. But East had bid both hearts and diamonds, describing a two-suited hand. That means West must have a long suit of clubs. The declarer led a small club and ruffed in dummy (trick 6). Bingo, East discarded a heart.  So, the distribution of spades was 4-1.

South led a diamond form dummy, East`s 9 won the trick (trick 7). East led the Q – West ruffed (trick 8).

West exited with the K, South ruffed in hand, led the last club – West still had clubs, so nothing to fear – and ruffed into dummy (trick 9, 10). Now the declarer could safely lead dummy`s last spade to his Ace and lead the ♠Q next, to take care of West`s two spades (tricks 11, 12) and lead a heart to dummy`s A (trick 13).

  ♠ J862  
  A865  
  653  
  ♣ K10  
♠ K974 Deal ♠ 3
9 QJ1042
K72 QJ1098
♣ AQ973 ♣ J4
  ♠ AQ105  
  K73  
  A4  
  ♣ 8652  

The declarer´s main obstacle was the uneven trump split and due to this the question in what succession  to play the cards. If South had pulled trumps before ruffing clubs two times, the contract would have gone down.

South chose the only possible lead after winning the fifth trick with the A.  If South had led a diamond – West could have won the trick with the K and led a diamond back, forcing South to ruff with the ♠10 in hand and thus creating a situation where West still holds three trumps, but South only  two –  the ♠AQ, and dummy `s three spades are lower than the ♠9 West  has.

But leading clubs was safe, as West had clubs and could do nothing but watch as the declarer used dummy`s trumps to ruff club losers, which enabled the declarer to use the spade suit in hand to draw the remaining trumps.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 2♠ by North/South.

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