Bridge Deal of the Week (May 09 2018)Click here for Archives / Discussion Boards
South opened tamely with 1♦. West overcalled 2♥ (weak preempt, 6 hearts). North responded 2♠ (5+ spades). East rose to 3♥ (3-card support to hearts). South jumped to 4♠ with his meager doubleton, pushed by his 6-4-2-1 distribution and 16 HCP.
West passed. North got the infection and cuebid 5♦ to show first round control in diamonds. East passed. South raised to 6♦. West and North passed. East bid 6♥. Now South and West passed.
North declared 7♦. West led the ♠ J. How can South win 13 tricks?
Contract: 7♦ by South.
South won the first trick with dummy`s ♠A (trick 1). The lucrative prospect of winning five tricks in spades was greatly diminished by the opening lead. West held six spades and the ♠J might have been a singleton. Thus the declarer needed to pull the trumps before checking out the spades.
South led a diamond from dummy to King (trick 2). Both opponents followed suit. South led the ♦Q next, both opponents followed suit (trick 3). The declarer led a spade to dummy`s ♠K, and again both opponents followed suit (trick 4).
Now South led the ♠Q, and West showed out, discarding the ♥9 – the opening lead had been from a doubleton and spades split 4-2 (trick 5). Still the last spade could be promoted into winner, but now the declarer needed a successful club finesse to win all 13 tricks.
The declarer led a spade from dummy and ruffed in hand (trick 6), cashed in the ♥A (trick 7) and led a diamond to dummy`s ♦A (trick 8). West discarded another heart, East a club. South led the winner spade, three clubs got discarded (trick 9). Now the opponents had only three clubs left and as the declarer led a club from dummy, East`s ♣K fell under the Ace (trick 10).
South won another trick with the ♣Q (trick 11) and claimed the last two with diamonds (tricks 12, 13).
Although the way how this particular grand slam was found during the auction seems a bit unconventional, North`s 7♦ was actually quite a sound bid – South couldn`t have jumped to 6♦ without a control in hearts and clubs while North had shown control in diamonds.
Also East`s 6♥ could only be understood as a desperate sacrifice attempt to prevent North/South playing a slam and this meant the chances were heavily on the declarer´s side.
7♦ was not a mission impossible. The declarer could choose between three possible courses of play, the outcome depending on the distribution of diamonds and spades.
To gather all tricks South`s best hope was that spades were split 3-3, in which case South could discard three clubs on spades and didn`t need to take a club finesse. But the trump split also needed to be known. If the trump split was worse than 3-1 (the possibility of 4-0 distribution is 10 %) there would be no entry point to dummy`s hand to lead spades.
The first course was based on discovering if spades were split 3-3. If spades didn`t break even, then a club finesse was needed. The ♣K was onside, and as East guarded his ♥Q, he discarded the small clubs guarding the King.
Or try a club finesse anyway.
Or draw diamonds two times and even if the trump split was 3-1 and spades distributed 4-2, to gamble that the opponent who had the last diamond also held longer spades.
Par Contract Analysis
The par contract on this deal is 7♥ DBL – 7 by West (East).
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