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Deal of the Week (Aug 31, 2007) Click here for Archives
The Auction:
West   North   East   South
3♣       4♣*     pass   4♠
all pass

North's 4♣ was not a cue-bid; it showed a hand with limit raise or better in spades, in case South wanted to explore slam. South had a minimum hand, so 4♠ became the final contract.

West led the Q, covered by the king and ace. East returned the 8, ruffed by West, who now plays the 8. West is unlikely to have the K based on his preempt, and his 8 play, which prompts you to go up with the ace.

West has already ruffed a heart, and you need the remaining spades to divide 2-2. You can play East to hold the Q10x in spades, but if that is the case you cannot ruff a club in dummy without getting overruffed by East. You therefore play a spade to the ace. West does have a singleton spade, but the good news is that the singleton is the queen. Plan the rest of the play.

The appearance of the ♠Q is a pleasant sight, there are four more minor suit losers (three clubs and one diamond) to be taken care of. It is easy to get careless and draw trumps or cash ♣A and ruff a club small. If you draw trumps, you can discard two minor-suit cards on the jack and ten of hearts, but will have to lose two more tricks. If you cash the ♣A and ruff a club with the ♠7, East will overruff with the ♠10 and return a spade. You can discard two losers on the jack and ten of hearts, but you have lost three tricks now including the club overruff, and have to lose one more trick for down one.

The winning play is simple and quite elegant. You have to cash the ♣A and ruff a club with the ♠J. You can now cash the jack and ten of hearts pitching two losers; West does not have any more trumps and has to discard twice. You now play a spade, finessing against East's ten. You have to lost one more trick, but can claim the rest of tricks. Making four.

There is one scenario where this line of play does not succeed. If West had made the diabolical play of dropping the queen with an initial holding of Qxx, he will be able to ruff in when you try to cash a heart. The good news is that not many players are capable of making such plays smoothly. If West did indeed start with Qxx of spades, he deserves his score for his fine play.

 Q8 Deal  1052
 Q  A86532
 873  KJ2
 KQJ9873  4

There are a lot of key points on this deal. First is the play of the A when West shifts to a diamond. If East has the K, a heart return will result in a trump promotion whenever West has the ♠Q or the ♠10, so it is imperative to rise with the ace. The next is the play of the ♣A followed by a club ruff with the jack. This is a fairly simple play, but can be easily overlooked, particularly after the excitement caused by the appearance of the ♠Q.

After playing the ♠A dropping the queen, the double dummy analysis points out that playing the ♣A and ruffing a club with the ♠J is a required play. If you wish, you could temporize by exiting a diamond to East, but on the next round you would need to play the ♣A and ruff a club with the ♠J and cash your heart winners.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4NT by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N4890-99384-59259-09852-96830-59291

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Deal Of The Week
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