Contact usAbout usAffiliates
Deal of the Week (Oct 26, 2007) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
pass     2♣       pass   3♠
pass     4♣1     pass   4NT2
pass     5♣3     pass   7♠
all pass

1 - Cue-Bid
2 - RKC Blackwood
3 - 0 or 3 keycards

North-South were playing Standard American, and conducted a reasonable auction to reach the best spot. West led the ♣K, East playing the ♣7 as you win with dummy's ace. What do you play to trick two, and how do you plan the rest of the contract?

If spades split 3-2, thirteen tricks are on top, so the only problem is a 4-1 spade break. If West has four spades, you cannot make the hand. If East has four trumps headed by the jack and ten, you will need to finesse the nine on the first round of trump, and not possessing any occult powers you will go down after playing two top trumps. If West has the singleton ♠J or ♠10, you might be able to execute a trump coup. This is the ending you want to reach:

 - Deal  108
 3  -
 -  -
 Q  -
You will lead a club from the North hand at trick 12, and overruff the card that East plays. To reach the above ending, your trump length needs to be reduced to that of East, i.e. you need to ruff two clubs in hand. Since entries to dummy are scarce, you must make the key play of ruffing a club at trick two. You then cash the ace and king of spades, West playing the jack and then discarding a heart (After West follows with the ♠J to the first spade, note that it is incorrect to finesse the ♠9 on the second round. West could have J10 doubleton, or could be falsecarding from J10x, so this is not a restricted choice situation).

You cross to the A and ruff another club in hand. You now cash all your red suit winners in hand, and cross over to the A, reaching the above position. A club from dummy will give you the last two tricks. Well played!

 J Deal  10832
 J973  1085
 J943  1085
 KQJ3  1097

You needed East to have exactly three cards in the other suits in order for the trump coup to succeed. It seems like you were lucky to find East with this distribution, but you were unlucky to encounter a 4-1 trump break in the first place.

Situations like this, where the key play needs to be made early, are easier to spot in problem deals than at the table. However, the play of ruffing a club at trick two is good technique, and is worth adding to your repertoire of strategies.

Bridge Baron's double dummy solver points out that ruffing a club at trick two is essential for the timing of the trump coup.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract is 7NT by North-South, as this can be made in theory by cashing one top spade and finessing the ♠9 the second round.

Bridge Baron deal No : N1341-41176-53788-19522-86939-48435

You can download this deal in PPL format, and view it with Bridge Baron here :
Deal Of The Week
(Please note : To avoid spammers and abusive language this board is moderated.)