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Deal of the Week (Nov 23, 2007) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West  North  East  South
pass    pass    pass  1♠
pass    2♠       pass  2NT
pass    3NT    all pass

After three passes, South had to decide whether to open 1NT or 1♠. The question of when to open 1NT with a five-card major produces a lot of different opinions, even among experts. On this occasion, South decided to open 1♠, but did well to introduce notrump into the picture, and finally ended up in 3NT.

West led the ♣10, ducked all the way around. A club was continued to East's queen, ducked again. The ♣K from East was taken perforce with the Ace, and South led a spade to the jack and East's ace. A heart was now returned. What is your plan to score nine tricks?

Though East's low heart seems to indicate the king, a closer look would tell you that West is certain to hold the K. First of all, if East held the K, he would be very reluctant to lead away from it, as leading a heart would mean presenting you with a trick that you would not have obtained otherwise. Also, East has shown up with nine points so far (the ♠A and the KQ of clubs); if he held the K as well, he would have opened the bidding (particularly in the third seat). Also, West is likely to have the 13th club. Therefore, if you run the heart to dummy's queen, West would win the K and cash his club to set the contract.

Having reached these conclusions, you should go up with the A to avoid immediate defeat. Now, try the effect of running all your spades. West, who holds the K as well as the queen and jack of diamonds, will feel the pinch. Here is the position when you lead your last spade:

 - Deal  -
 K  1064
 QJ7  65
West has no good discard. The K is obviously fatal as the Q will be the ninth trick. A diamond discard is equally fatal, as you will cash the king and ace of diamonds, and score your ninth trick with the 9. It looks like West can escape by discarding his club. Not quite; you would pitch a diamond from dummy, and lead a heart towards the king, establishing your ninth trick.
 83 Deal  A95
 KJ9  10643
 QJ73  654
 10987  KQ6

This is the second occasion where the relatively rare three-suit strip-squeeze has been featured in this column, and both the deals occured in real life.

Bridge Baron's double dummy analysis affirms that the three-suit strip squeeze is required to make 3NT.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract is 3NT by North-South. Note that 4♠ goes down, so North-South did extremely well to first reach 3NT, and then make it.

Bridge Baron deal No : N2026-57523-58244-60975-55470-10191

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