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Deal of the Week (Oct 19, 2007) Click here for Archives
Problem:

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
                       1♠      2
2♠       5        all pass

The 11th World Computer-Bridge Championship recently took place from October 4-9 in Shanghai, China along with the World Championships. Bridge Baron reached the finals, losing to WBridge5 of France. More details about the competition can be found here.

This week's deal is modified from a deal that took place in a round robin match between Bridge Baron and Sharkbridge. The auction was not quite elegant, particularly since 3NT is cold and 5 appears to have no play, but Sharkbridge found a nice line of play.

The opening lead was the ♠3, taken perforce in dummy with the ace. The percentage play of a diamond to the ace brought down the king from West, thereby crossing the first hurdle. Plan the rest of the play.

Solution:
There seem to be three inescapable losers in the form of one heart and two clubs. Given that East opened the bidding, there is a good chance that he holds the ace and king of clubs (in any case, you need East to hold the top clubs to have any chance to succeed). You also need East to hold no more than one heart. If these conditions exist, you can make this unlikely contract after all!

You crossed the first hurdle by playing a diamond to the ace which brought the king from West. You should now cash the ♠K for a heart discard before playing a heart to dummy, in order to lead a club off of dummy. If East plays low, you will lose only one club trick and therefore make your contract. Hence, East has to win the king, and it makes sense for him to cash the ace as well. After that, East finds himself endplayed - a club return into dummy's tenace enables you to discard both your hearts from hand, while a spade lead allows you to ruff in dummy and discard the remaining heart from dummy. Making five!

 A
 A104
 108632
 Q963
 1063 Deal  QJ98752
 KJ9732  Q
 K  5
 872  AK105
 K4
 865
 AQJ974
 J4

While the likelihood that hearts divide 6-1 is poor, a small chance of success is still better than no chance of success.

Analysis:
Bridge Baron's double dummy solver points out that an initial club lead defeats 5, as East can cash the ace and king of clubs at tricks one and two, thereby removing endplay prospects.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4♠X by East-West, which fails by one trick. As North-South can make 3NT, 4♠ turns out to be a good sacrifice for East-West.

Bridge Baron deal No : N1253-42890-14580-00055-08817-70493

You can download this deal in PPL format, and view it with Bridge Baron here :
Deal Of The Week
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