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Deal of the Week (Apr 21, 2006) Click here for Archives
Playing Matchpoints, you open 1♣ in first seat with the South hand. Partner gets excited, and within a few seconds you end up as declarer in 6♣. The good news is that you escaped a diamond lead, and receive a friendly heart lead instead. However, you still have your work cut out in order to make the contract. How do you proceed?

Solution: Dummy's ♠10 is a vital card, and it provides you with an extra chance to make the contract. If West has the ♠J, you can play a spade to the 10 and score 4 spade tricks, 3 heart tricks, 1 diamond trick, which means you need only 4 club tricks. If the spade finesse loses, then you have to bank on the club finesse by cashing the ♣K and playing a club to the Jack. On this deal, when you lead a spade to the 10 at trick 2, it holds!

Since the scoring is matchpoints, it is now tempting to take the club finesse and try to take all 13 tricks. However, not many pairs will reach 6♣, and making your contract will give you an excellent score. Therefore, you should find a way to guarantee your contract, without worrying about the overtrick. If clubs break 3-2, you have a maximum of 1 club loser; the problem arises when clubs are 4-1. There is a 100% play to restrict your club loser to 1, if clubs divide no worse than 4-1. Can you see it?

Cash the ♣A, and lead a low club, intending to play the 8 if East plays low. If West wins the trick, then clubs divide 3-2 and your ♣K will draw the outstanding trump. This safety play gains when East has four clubs headed by the Q10; if you start by playing the ♣K first, you cannot avoid 2 club losers if East has four clubs to the Q10. If East discards on the second club, then you should win the trick with the ♣K, and lead a low club to dummy's Jack; West can get only 1 trick whether he plays his Queen now or later. Congratulations if you made all the key plays; no other pair made 6♣, so you get all the matchpoints on this deal.

 J854 Deal  962
 Q7642  98
 Q82  KJ103
 6  Q1074

A double dummy analysis is not suitable for this deal, since one of the key aspects in this deal is to play the club suit for one loser, catering to all 4-1 and 3-2 breaks; looking at all four hands, it will be trivial to find the winning play.
Par Contract Analysis:
Bridge Baron confirms that the par contract on this hand is 6♣.

Bridge Baron deal No : 16044567170295502044466758399

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