Bridge Deal of the Week (April 04 2018)

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The Auction:

West North East South
    Pass 1
Pass 2NT Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass  


East passed. South opened with 1. West passed. North responded 2NT – Jacoby NT (4+ hearts, 11+ HCP). East passed. South declared 4.

After the uneventful auction West led the ♠6.

How should the declarer handle the first trick to ensure winning 10 tricks?

Vul: none

Contract: 4by South.


The declarer had to decide whether to win the first trick or let the opponents take it. Besides the loser in spades South missed the ♣K and the only stopper in diamonds was dummy`s K, so two tricks might be lost in diamonds.

To win ten tricks the declarer needed to establish clubs. South played the ♠9 from dummy, East covered with the ♠10 and the declarer ducked, so East`s ten won the trick (trick 1). East cashed in the A next (trick 2) and exited with a diamond. Dummy`s K won the trick (trick 3).

South led the K from dummy and pulled a round of trumps (trick 4) then led a diamond from dummy and ruffed in hand (trick 5). The declarer cashed in the ♠A next (trick 6), led a spade and ruffed in dummy (trick 7) and won a trick with the ♣A (trick 8).

After that the declarer led the J from dummy, East showed out, so West held one more heart (trick 9). South led another trump to pull the last trump (trick 10), then led the ♣J. East won this trick with the ♣K (trick 11) and led the ♠Q. The declarer ruffed (trick 12) and won the last trick with the ♣Q (trick 13).

  ♠ 93  
♠ K86 Deal ♠ QJ1072
754 3
Q10963 AJ5
♣ 62 K754
  ♠ A54  



Often the fate of contract is decided by the way the first trick is handled. Here, South faced four losers – one in spades, two in diamonds and the ♣K was offside.

Thus it was a matter of life and death to retain the stopper in spades after the trumps were drawn and clubs set up. If South had won the first trick with the ♠A, then after losing a trick to the ♣K East  might have led a spade to West`s ♠K and West might have  switched to diamonds – this way the contract would have gone down -1.

Due to the layout of cards it was also imperative to let East win the first trick. If the declarer had played the ♠ 3 from dummy, East the ♠ 2 and South would have ducked – then West`s ♠6 would have won the first trick. West could have led a diamond and the contract might have gone down.


Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 3♠ DBL -1 by East /West.


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