Bridge Deal of the Week (May 09 2018)

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The Auction:

West North East South
2 2♠ 3 4♠
Pass 5 Pass 6
Pass Pass 6 Pass
Pass 7 all pass  

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?

Vul: both

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 the9 – 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).

♠ J2 Deal ♠ 10963
KJ9872 Q1053
94 72
♣ J106 K85
  ♠ 84  


  ♣ AQ73  

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 7DBL – 7 by West  (East).


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