Bridge Deal of the Week (May 23 2018)

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The Auction:

West North East South
  1♣ Pass 1♠
Pass 1NT Dbl 3
Pass 5 Pass Pass

North started with 1♣. South responded 1♠. North bid 1NT. South, instead of declaring 3NT with  abundance of HCP bid 3. North, who had a 3-card support for diamonds, declared 5.

West led the ♠3. Not surprisingly the declarer has a 7-card trump suit. As South can count six top tricks in side suits, the declarer needs five tricks in diamonds. But how can South win five tricks in diamonds holding a 4-card trump suit on longer hand and missing the Q?

Vul: none

Contract: 5 by South


The declarer played a small spade from dummy and won the trick with the ♠K as East played the ♠J (trick 1).

South led a small spade to dummy`s ♠A next (trick 2) and played a heart to the Ace (trick 3). Next the declarer led a spade from hand and ruffed in to dummy (trick 4), cashed in the K (trick 5), led a heart from dummy and ruffed (trick 6).

Now the opponents had only one spade and one heart left.  South led a spade from hand, West played the ♠Q and South ruffed with dummy`s 7 (trick 7). East discarded a club (probably didn`t have a higher trump).

South cashed in the ♣K and ♣A next , East`s ♣J dropped (tricks 8, 9) and could silently congratulate himself as whatever the layout of the remaining trumps, he would take two more tricks with the A and K.

The declarer led a club, West played the ♣Q, but East ruffed his partner`s winner (trick 10) trying to save West from been endplayed and exited with a heart. South played a low diamond, so West`s Q  won the trick (trick 11). The last two tricks belonged to South with the AK.

♠ Q1073 Deal ♠ J82
J95 Q1032
Q109 654
♣ Q86 J95



South cleverly avoided drawing the trumps, which enabled the declarer to win five tricks in diamonds using cross-ruffing. Even if North / South would have held 8-card trump suit, cross-ruffing would have yielded more tricks after the trumps were drawn than hunting the missing trump queen, which could have ended in losing a trick trying a finesse.

3NT would have been a much safer contract. Although North can count on 8 quick tricks and needs to find the ninth trick, if either clubs or diamonds happen to break even (as they do), there is a possibility for an extra trick as there are double stoppers in hearts and spades. North would have conceded the first trick in hearts and lost only two more, on in diamonds and one in clubs.


Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 4NT by North.

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