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Deal of the Week (Feb 22, 2008) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West  North  East  South
2       pass    pass   2
pass    3       pass   3♠
pass    4♣      pass   6
all pass

The auction conducted by North-South will not meet with much approval, but the final contract is competitive. West leads the Q, East wins the ace and returns a diamond. Plan the play.

The heart finesse needs to succeed for you to have any chance (if the heart finesse fails, you can move on to the next hand, and maybe conduct a better auction than this one). You can count one spade trick, five heart tricks, one diamond trick, one diamond ruff, and three club tricks on top.

West leads the Q, East wins the ace and backs a diamond, which you should ruff in dummy. You should play a trump to the queen as all follow, a club to the ace, and take another trump finesse by leading a low heart to the jack with all following again, and cash the A to draw the last outstanding trump.

At this stage, the only hope of finding a twelfth trick is to execute a squeeze. If West has four clubs, he can be squeezed in clubs and diamonds. It is highly unlikely, however, that West has club length for quite a few reasons. If West's distribution is 1-2-6-4, he would certainly have led his singleton spade. Also, as West is known to hold six diamonds to East's two, East is a favorite to hold length in clubs.

Another option is to squeeze East in spades and clubs. East is likely to hold the ♠K; are dummy's ♠Q and ♣7 the two threat cards against East? The answer is no. If both threat cards are in dummy, East will be discarding after dummy, so he will discard the suit you discard from dummy.

Does that mean that East cannot be squeezed in spades and clubs? Not at all. If East holds all the high spades, i.e. the king, jack, ten and nine, the ♠4 in your hand and ♣7 in dummy serve as threat cards in dummy. You cash the K and the remaining two hearts to inflict pressure on East. Here is the position when you lead the last heart:

 32 Deal  KJ
 -  -
 J7  -
 -  J106
On the last heart, dummy discards a spade, and East is in trouble. If he discards a spade, you will cash the ♠A and the ♠4. If he discards a club, the ♣7 becomes good. In this line of play, you need to keep track of East's spade discards - you should watch out for the king, jack, ten and nine of spades; you don't need to keep track of the clubs.

What if West did have four clubs after all? You could squeeze him too! In the above line of play, you just need to make one small modification - cash the ♠A at some stage. Once again you don't need to keep track of clubs - you just need to see if West discards the J, in which case you will cash the diamond ten. What you essentially did was play the hand as a double squeeze - you did not know which opponent you were going to squeeze, played in such way that the opponent who held the club length would be squeezed.

 32 Deal  KJ109
 93  K106
 QJ9762  A4
 843  J1062

Bridge Baron's double dummy solver points out that an initial spade lead results in a two trick set. A club lead results in defeat as well, as it ruins the entry for any sort of squeeze.

Bridge Baron's line of play
Bridge Baron takes the recommended line of play, and successfully makes the contract. Bridge Baron did have an advantage over humans on this deal - since high cards usually serve as threat cards, humans will tend to overlook the power of the ♠4 as a threat card on this deal. Bridge Baron has no such inherent tendency, and goes on to make the contract.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 5 by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N1763-52618-63760-11234-95978-25010

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