Bridge Deal of the Week (April 06 2016)

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Problem

The Auction:

 

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

 

East has won the contract with 4 and you must lead. What is your choice for the opening lead? Can you make the opponents go down?

Solution

The dummy hand is yet hidden, so you must rely on the information from the auction and of course on your own cards. Your only hope to win any tricks is with your honours – the A and the Q, so you wouldn`t want to lead diamonds or spades. You have three hearts, but the sequence of 10 and 9 might be valuable later on and you have two clubs. By the bidding information West should have 11 points, at least four clubs and 0-3 spades.

You decide to lead the top card of the useless club doubleton – the ♣10. Your ten of clubs is covered with the ♣Q by West, K by North and East wins the trick with the ace of clubs.

East leads the 2 – probably with the purpose of crossing to the dummy to try to finesse spades – and wins the second trick with the A. You were right, East starts drawing the trumps playing the ♠ 3 from the dummy and covering it with the ♠ J from hand. You win the trick with the ♠ E.

Now you have one trick and the opponents have two tricks.

Your hand and dummy look like this and by your analysis East might have the following cards left:

   
   
   
   
8 xxxxxx
Q6 Kx
K105 ?
9432 ♣ ?
  5  
  109  
  A98632  
  7  

What to lead? You might lead the clubs again. But then again you have a long suit of six diamonds and the dummy has three more, so it might be possible that East has only a few diamonds and might discard them. You decide to lead the A and win this trick.

Now you must lead again. You know by the bidding that East should have had at least seven spades. By now you know East also had at least one club, one heart and one diamond. As East had crossed to the dummy with the A and the Q is also in the dummy, you suspect that East has at least two more hearts, one of them the K. No sense in leading the hearts.

If your estimate about the distribution of the hearts is right and East has two more hearts, then he can have besides the remainig six spades and two hearts either a club or a diamond.

If you lead diamonds again then the dummy will win the trick with the K, offering the possibility for East to discard his remaining club (if he has no diamonds left). After that East can proceed comfortably with his game plan taking tricks with spades and hearts.

So you must lead clubs again. Bingo, East had one more club and North wins the trick with the ♣ J! As North takes the next trick with the ♠ A, the opponents go down by one.

  A6  
  J873  
  QJ4  
  KJ86  
83 Deal ♠KJ109742
AQ6 K52
K105 7
Q9432 A5
  Q5  
  1094  
  A98632  
  107  

Everything depends on the choice of the opening lead here, as once they have the initiative, East-West can win the contract quite easily (in fact, Bridge Baron`s par contract on the deal is 5? East-West). As you don`t have good enough cards for an attacking lead, you must avoid taking risks and start with a suit where you have nothing to lose. As West has bid clubs and therefore he might have high cards in clubs, it is sensible to choose clubs as the opening lead as your partner can play after dummy. Besides, leading from the doubleton is always sensible. It is also vital to play the clubs before the diamonds, as after the ?A ace is played, the dummy`s king of diamonds is promoted to winner giving East a chance to discard a club.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 5? East-West.

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