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Deal of the Week (May 09, 2008) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
                       pass    pass
pass     1       dbl      1♠
2♣       dbl*    3♣      pass
pass     dbl      pass     4♠
all pass

* - three card spade support

This deal came up in the 2008 Cavendish International. You reach 4♠ after East passed initially and made a takeout double of diamonds the next round. West leads the 5, you play the king from dummy, East considers his play and makes the strong move of ducking. What is your general strategy?

Solution: The opening lead is certainly from a doubleton. East is likely to hold three spades to the queen for his takeout double, along with short diamonds. You are in danger of losing one spade, two hearts and a diamond.

Your general strategy should be to try and sever the opponents' communication, to prevent them from scoring two heart tricks as well as a diamond trick. If East had made the normal play of winning the opening lead with the A and returning the J, that would have disrupted defensive communications. East's strong defense leaves you to perform the task of cutting their communication.

You cash the ace and king of spades, West shows out on the second round as expected. You play a third round of spade, East wins the queen and returns the ♣K. You win the ace, and make the key play of exiting with a low heart. East wins, but has no good options. If he cashes the A, you will discard a diamond loser on dummy's Q.

In the more likely scenario where East does not cash the A, you will plan to discard your heart loser on a diamond. Say East returns a club. You ruff, cash the A, and advance the 10 planning to run it if West does not cover. If West covers with the queen, you will duck this trick to maintain communication with dummy, ruff the club return, play a diamond to the nine and discard your heart loser on the K.

 9 Deal  Q107
 53  AJ108
 QJ765  8
 J10943  K8765

Bridge Baron's double dummy solver concurs that 4♠ cannot be defeated, both by the recommended play as well as the line of play adopted by Bridge Baron described below.

Bridge Baron's Line of Play
Bridge Baron's play is similar to the recommended play, but more flashy. Bridge Baron won the heart lead in dummy, played the ♣A and ruffed a club, played a spade to the ace, a diamond to the ace, a diamond to the queen and king (if West followed low, Bridge Baron correctly inserted the nine).

East is left with no good option. If East ruffs with the ♠10 and returns the ♠Q, Bridge Baron exits with a low heart, catching East in the familiar dilemma. If East refuses to ruff, Bridge Baron once again exits a with low heart, endplaying East in three suits! Playing gives up the trump trick, a club lead concedes a ruff and discard, and cashing the A would allow Bridge Baron to park the diamond loser on the K.
Par Contract Analysis:
East-West have a good save in 5♣, and the par contract therefore is 5♣X by East-West.

Bridge Baron deal No : N0941-98463-40786-36539-28684-21155

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