Bridge Deal of the Week (March 16 2016)

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Problem

The Auction:

West North East South
      1NT
Pass 2♣ Pass 2
Pass 2NT Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Pass  

With 17 HCP and your partner indicating 8-9 points by bidding 2NT, you go to 3 NT.

West leads the ♠10, indicating length in spades. Is it possible to make the contract?

   K632  
   1072  
   A8732  
   Q  
 Q10954 Deal  87
 Q4  J9653
 K94  J10
 A85  J972
   AJ  
   AK8  
   Q65  
   K10643  

You take the first trick with the ♠J.

There's no hope in making extra tricks in hearts or spades. Clubs look lucrative. You play the ♣3 to assess the situation. West takes the trick with the ♣A and promptly plays the ♠Q, which you take with the ♠A.

You cannot play the clubs from your hand, as for your ♣K and ♣10, the opponents have the ♣J, ♣9 and ♣8.

But then there are diamonds. You have eight diamonds including the A and the Q. But when playing the diamonds you must keep in mind and also try to solve two problems: you must not lose the transportation between the hand and dummy and you must play the diamonds in such a way that spades and hearts are safeguarded.

So you start cautiously by playing the 5 from the hand and decide to duck and not play the A from the dummy, to see what happens. East takes the trick with the 10 – rather disappointing not to take down any higher cards, but oh well, it is the first diamonds trick. Length and stamina are the properties to make it!

East then plays the 5 indicating length in hearts, and you take the trick by the K. You have now only one stopper for both the hearts and spades.

Your hand now looks like this:

 K6
 107
 A873
 
Deal
 A8
  Q6
  K1064

How to play the diamonds? If you play the Q and catch the K with the A from the dummy, then there is the danger of losing transportation between the hand and the dummy, because the opponents still have bigger diamonds than yours. To get two additional tricks in diamonds you need to give away one more trick in diamonds, but after playing the third diamond trick there will be no transportation left to get to the remaining diamonds in the dummy.

On the other hand, if you play theQ, but duck for a second time, you are in a comfortable position, as you still have defense in spades and hearts and you can get to the dummy with the A!

(Besides, you canВґt wait for the opponents to play the clubs.)

West takes the trick with the K and plays the Q. Now you can easily take six tricks with the A and ♣K from your hand, the remaining 6 provides transportation to dummy and the possibility to cash in two more tricks in diamonds and the ♠K, making the contract.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 4 diamonds by North-South.

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