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Deal of the Week (Feb 29, 2008) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
dbl       4       all pass

You are South on this week's deal, declaring an excellent 4 contract. West leads the ♠K, won by dummy's ace. First things first, you play two rounds of diamonds, discarding your spade loser. You choose to continue with a third round of diamonds, discarding a club. How should you proceed?

If trumps divide 2-2, you will make the contract no matter what. The 3-1 split in trumps is the situation you should cater to. The obvious continuation is to lead a club off of dummy - if East has the ♣A, you are in good shape. If West has the ♣A and one opponent holds the singleton K or A, you will still be fine. However, if West has the ♣A and one opponent holds AKx of hearts, the opponents can play three rounds of trumps and you will go down.

There is a line of play to counter the particular scenario where one opponent holds the singleton 8. It involves making the key play of ruffing a diamond to establish a winner in the suit. Establish a winner in a dead dummy seems pointless. But dummy is not really dead! After ruffing a diamond in hand, you play the ♣K. The opponents can lead three rounds of hearts, but you will unblock two high honors, and win the third round in dummy with the 7. The established diamond takes care of the club loser in hand.

So which of the above two lines should you adopt? The clue lies in the bidding. West has made a takeout double, and therefore is a favorite to hold the ♣A; he is also likely to be short in hearts. Therefore, ruffing a diamond and playing a high club is marginally better than the other line.

 KQ74 Deal  J62
 8  AK4
 J1095  864
 AJ93  10762

According to Bridge Baron's double dummy solver, ruffing a diamond at the critical point is necessary to make the contract on the actual lie of cards.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4 by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N4290-31058-28032-80124-09372-75965

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Deal Of The Week
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