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Deal of the Week (Nov 30, 2007) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
pass     3NT    all pass

North-South reach 3NT after a straightforward auction, in a knockout match (where the scoring is IMPs, and the objective is to defeat the contract). Partner leads a fourth highest 2, and an intimadating seven-trick dummy comes down. How do you propose to defeat the contract?
The opening lead is the 2, and the the play to the first trick seems simple enough, you play a heart honor. Dummy has 10 HCP, you have 13, and partner has 0-2 HCP. You need to play partner for a heart card to have any chance of setting the contract. If partner has the Q, then the obvious continuation of the A will defeat the contract. Before playing a third heart to partner's assumed queen, the ♠A should be cashed of course.

But what if partner has the J instead of the queen? You know that declarer has three hearts (remember, partner led the his fourth highest heart, the two, and therefore has four hearts). If declarer has the Q, then cashing two top hearts will enable you to take only three tricks.

The correct continuation at trick two is a low heart, giving declarer a guess if he has Q10x. This play is safe, since you know that declarer has exactly three hearts. If declarer misguesses and plays the ten, your side will be able to win the first five tricks. It is worth noting that winning the opening lead deceptively with the A and playing back a low heart highly increases declarer's chance of misguessing.

 7632 Deal  A854
 J942  AK63
 842  Q65
 42  73

Bridge Baron's double dummy solver points out that South can always make the contract by guessing hearts. In practice, you made it very difficult for him to get it right by winning the A at trick one.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4NT by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N0242-96902-57620-39651-58401-06081

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