Bridge Deal of the Week (March 23 2016)

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Problem

The Auction:

 

West North East South
    Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 2♠
Pass 3 Pass 4NT
Pass 5 Pass 6NT
       

 

You are South in this deal, declaring 6NT. West leads the ♣J. Plan your play.

Solution

The opening lead of the ♣J by West must be read as top of a solid sequence, meaning West has at least ♣J109x. Therefore you cannot play the ♣Q from the table, as East most probably has the ♣K and after a successful finesse the ♣10 (that East presumably has) would become a winner.

  KQ  
  AK642  
  KQ5  
  Q73  
J972 Deal 854
87 J1095
108 J973
J10962 K4
  A1063  
  Q3  
  A642  
  A85  

You play the ♣3 from the dummy and East covers it with the ♣4. If you take the first trick with the ♣A, you face the possibility of losing two tricks in clubs with the ♣K and the ♣10. As West`s lead indicates length in clubs, he probably has four or five clubs, consequently East has two or three clubs and you might catch his king with your ace next trick retaining your queen.

You duck and West leads the ♣10, you follow with the ♣7 from the dummy – and voila, East covers it with the ♣K, so you win the trick with the ♣A.

Having successfully solved the problem with clubs, you must now find a way to acquire some extra tricks. You have seven hearts and seven diamonds. To promote a smaller card from either of these suits to be a winner, you need to establish the distribution. If you miss six cards from some suit, the highest probability is that they are distributed 4-2.

If West had long hearts or diamonds, he might have chosen to open with either of these suits instead of clubs.

If East has both four hearts and four diamonds, then the only possibility to promote your smaller cards is to squeeze – play as many tricks of spades and clubs as you can, as East presumably had only two clubs and three spades – forcing East to discard diamonds or hearts.

You take the next two tricks with the ♠Q and the ♠K from the dummy and then play the ♣Q. East discards the ♠8. If your analysis was correct, East has now four hearts and four diamonds left in his hand. You play the K and the Q from the dummy and then lead hearts from the dummy taking the next trick with the Q from your hand.

 

Now East should have three hearts and two diamonds left.

High time to draw your squeeze card, the ♠A, and see what happens. West promptly plays the ♠9 and you discard the 5 from the dummy. Now East is squeezed – if he discards a diamond too, he has only one diamond left and as you have the A and the 6, your six of diamonds becomes a winner. If he discards a heart, your hearts will become winners.

East discards the 9, so you can now cash in the A and the 6 you hold and take the last two tricks with the K and the A from the dummy.

The only way to make this contract lies in the successful distribution analysis. First you must handle the clubs right and after that gather an extra trick from the squeeze. You need to catch East in a squeeze between hearts and diamonds forcing him to discard from either of these suits.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 6NT by North-South.

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