Bridge Deal of the Week (August 01 2018)

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

North opened with 1♣. East overcalled 3(weak, 6-8 diamonds). South bid 3. West passed, so North and South had an unhindered opportunity to explore slam possibilities. North supported hearts – 4. South bid 4♠, first round control in spades. North showed first round control in hearts with 4NT. South bid 5(first round control in diamonds), North 6♣ (first round control in clubs). South showed second round control in diamonds with 6, North declared 6.

Can South win 12 tricks or is there a possibility for defense to defeat the contract?

West led the 3.

Vul: None

Contract: 6 by South


South`s A won the first trick (trick 1). It seems to the declarer that he can win more than 12 tricks – if the K is offside, then five tricks with hearts, as both hands combined the declarer`s side has nine spades, then at least three top tricks in spades could be won, but maybe even five, if spades break even and South has three top honors in clubs.

As the declarer wanted to establish spades, he needed to pull the trump and so South led a heart to dummy`s A (trick 2). Then the declarer led the Q from dummy`s hand. East won the trick with the K (trick 3), West discarded a diamond. East promptly led his last heart to dummy`s Queen (trick 4), West discarded another diamond.

Now trumps were drawn and the declarer led a spade from dummy`s hand to his Ace (trick 5). East showed out, discarding a club. This was an unpleasant surprise – West had three more spades including the ♠J, so South had to abandon the idea of establishing spades. Besides clubs were blocked as the declarer held the singleton ♣K and there seemed to be no entrance to dummy`s hand to win tricks with the ♣AQ and get a chance to discard two spades from hand.

But South found a way. East had held three hearts, had a void in spades and if East had a 7-card suit of diamonds, this meant East started with three clubs. Consequently West had now five clubs and three spades.

This meant West would be squeezed every time the declarer led a trump and had to decide, whether to hold clubs or spades. South cashed in the ♠KQ (tricks 6, 7) and started to lead trump after that, winning three tricks with three hearts (tricks 8, 9, 10). As the ♠J was winner and West knew South had two more spades, West discarded three clubs.  

East had discarded another club too, so South knew that defense had only three clubs left, and they were split 2-1. Now the declarer cold safely lead the the ♣K, win the trick with dummy`s ♣A (trick 11) and take two more tricks with dummy´s ♣Q and ♣10, discarding the spades from hand (tricks 12, 13).

  ♠ 10763  
  ♣ AQ107  
♠ J952 Deal ♠ -
6 K92
543 ♦  KQJ10976
♣ J6432 ♣ 985
  ♠ AKQ84  
  ♣ K  

This slam might have been a piece of cake if the declarer had unblocked the clubs and led the ♣K as soon as possible. After that it would have been easy to win 12 tricks, one diamond, five hearts, three spades and three clubs – whatever the splits were.

How could East/West have defeated the contract?  If West had let South win the first two tricks with hearts, then won the third trick with the K and led a club to South`s ♣K, then South would have been stuck in hand with no entry to dummy and would have been forced to give up one more trick in spades.




Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 6 by South.


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