Bridge Deal of the Week (May 11 2016)

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The Auction:

West North East South
Pass 1 Pass 1NT
Pass 2 All pass  

East leads the A, taking your king of diamonds straight away (it is noteworthy that West plays the J into the trick), then East leads diamonds for the second time – the 6, you play the 3 from dummy, West plays the Q, you ruff and gain the lead. Plan your play.


This is a humble partscore, but interesting nevertheless as your partner has a void in trump suit and therefore you cannot finesse the missing trumps in a traditional way.

It is always a good idea to count winners. You have already won one trick and can count on at least two more tricks with clubs, maybe three. But your biggest problem is trump suit as you have five hearts left and the opponents have seven. If you miss seven cards from a suit the most probable distribution should be 4-3, but even this could be dangerous as you miss both the Q and the J.

Therefore there exists the danger that after pulling the trumps for two times one of the opponents will still have the QJ and can take down your remaining trumps after gaining the lead.

No way are you going to touch spades, as the possibility of losing three tricks if you lead spades is high.

So the only course open is to lead clubs and finesse. As you hold 1052 and dummy has AKJ7, the best choice is to lead the ♣10, which wins the trick. So East has the ♣Q. You lead clubs for the second time, this time playing the ♣J from dummy. Courage is the father of success – you lead clubs for the third time and win this trick with the dummy’s ♣K.

Now you have a choice of leading the last of the clubs – the ♣A or diamonds from dummy, both of which you can ruff. If you lead the ♣A both opponents have an opportunity to ruff too, if you lead the diamonds probably only West has. As the opponents have two diamonds left you feel pretty sure East has them as East led diamonds indicating length in this suit and West has played the QJ into the first two tricks.

But you must bear in mind that West knows you must ruff to win the diamonds trick, so he can discard whatever and this is bad as you lose one of your dearly needed trumps and the opponents do not.

If West has long hearts you might find yourself in the position that one of the opponents has more hearts than you do.

The best solution to this problem is to make sure every time you have to play a trump at least one of the opponents must do so too, catching the opponent’s trumps with yours.

So you lead the ♣A, West plays the 3 and you play the 10. East plays the ♠5, so now you know that West has the high hearts.

The opponents have now six hearts as you have four and it is safe to pull the trumps assuming the remaining ones split 3-3. You take next two tricks with the A and the K – both opponents play hearts to these tricks – and then lead hearts third time. West wins the trick with the E and leads the ♠Q. You are surely going to lose three tricks in spades but as you still have the 9 you are going to make it.

QJ102 Deal A53
QJ63 854
QJ A1086
963 Q84

The technique to reduce the opponent’s trumps without actually leading the trump is called trump coup. This means you have to lead a winner from a side suit so that the opponent has to trump giving you the possibility to overtrump.

If you had started with pulling the trumps, you would have gone down.

The par deal on this hand is 2 by North.

Par Contract Analysis

The par deal on this deal is 2 by North.

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