Bridge Deal of the Week (October 04 2018)

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The Auction:

West North East South
  1♠ 2 2♠
3 3 5 5♠
Pass Pass Pass  

North started with 1♠, East overcalled 2., South responded 2♠ and West 3. North called 3 (trial bid inviting to game). East jumped to 5. South went higher and declared 5♠.

East led the 6.

Both hand combined North/South hold 11 spades. With an even split the ♠K and ♠J will drop.  North is void in diamonds – no losers.  But North has the Kx in clubs, which might mean losing two tricks. Judging by bidding, East probably holds the ♣A. Also the Q is missing; this adds up to three losers.

How can North win 11 tricks?

Dealer: North

Vul: Both

Contract: 5♠ by North


The declarer won the first trick dummy`s A and led a small spade to the Ace in hand (tricks 1, 2). Both opponents followed suit, the ♠K and ♠J dropped. Trumps were drawn. Next North led a heart to dummy `s King (trick 3). East discarded a club. So East had started life with a singleton and hearts were split 1-5.

But now only six clubs remained in opponents’ hands. Reasonable to calculate that if East had a long suit of diamonds, and a singleton heart and West held a long suit of hearts plus good support for diamonds, then clubs might have been be split 3-4.

Thus clubs offered the only possibility to win the extra trick – as dummy held four clubs, the fourth might be promoted into winner. North led a club from dummy to ten, to East`s ♣J (trick 4). East led the A, the declarer ruffed (trick 5) and led the ♣K. East covered with the ♣A (trick 6) and returned a club. The declarer played a small club from dummy, West`s ♣Q dropped, North ruffed (trick 7).

Now North crossed over to dummy`s hand by leading a small spade to dummy`s ♠Q (trick 8) and led the last club from dummy discarding a heart from hand (trick 9). With only spades in hand, the declarer claimed.

  ♠ A10976532  
  ♣ K10  
♠ K Deal ♠ J
Q10854 6
10542 AKQJ976
♣ Q86 ♣ AJ32
  ♠ Q84  
  ♣ 9754  

South`s bold bid (perhaps meant as a sacrifice) secured a winning contract for North/South. East could have made 5, losing only two tricks to the ♠A and A.

And North found a way with only 17HCP between them. A quick analyses of the hand resulted in concluding that the fourth club will provide the extra trick needed and the possibility to get rid of that the hearts loser. But the plan could only be put into practice as long there were entry points to dummy`s hand. The K and ♠Q provided the entry points. A good thing North didn`t lead the ♠Q, as after several ruffs in hand the declarer might have found that dummy`s spades were lower than those in hand and the entry point to the last club might have been lost.

For defense the winning strategy would have been to cut through the communication and remove the entry points to dummy`s hand, but East had a singleton heart and could not repeat the heart lead.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on his deal is 6Dbl -1 by East.

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