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Deal of the Week (May 19, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
South  West  North  East
1      1♠       2      3♣
4       pass    pass   5♣
pass*   pass    6!!  all pass

* forcing pass

Fact is often stranger than fiction. This is true at the bridge table too, as illustrated by this deal. South opened 1, West overcalled 1♠, North showed support by bidding 2. South felt that he had enough to bid 4 over East's 3♣. When East persisted with 5♣, South wanted to consult partner whether to double them in 5♣, or to play in 5.

It seems routine for North to double, with a 4-3-3-3 distribution, 2 aces, and an ominous holding of three small spades. North considered these points, but observed that South did not double 5♣ himself, and therefore displayed interest in competing further. He further reasoned that the two aces are useful cards on offense as well, and the four card trump support was a good offensive holding too. He made a flamboyant, and possibly counterintuitive bid of 6! East wanted to double this strange bid, especially after he propelled them to slam, but neither opponent had a hand to double. West leads the ♣K, and South gives his cards to you; it is up to you to make the contract now.


 K10874 Deal  Q
 103  Q
 Q1087  J963
 K5  QJ109864

Your best chance is to eliminate the minor suits, and endplay the opponents in spades. For this line of play to work, you'll need East to have a singleton spade honor, the 10, Queen or the King. To bring about the elimination, you'll need to ruff 2 clubs and 1 diamond in hand, and hence need 3 entries to dummy. The ♣A and A are two entries, and the third entry needs to be in the trump suit. It looks as if you'll just need trumps to be 2-1, and can play A, K and a third heart to dummy. The problem with this is that you would have played 3 trumps, ruffed 3 minor suit cards in hand, and you will not have any trumps left in your hand to benefit from a ruff-and-discard! In other words, you need two trump entries while still having a trump left to take advantage of the ruff-and-discard. Therefore, you need an opponent to have the singleton Q, so that you can cash a heart honor, and enter dummy with the J.

After winning the opening ♣K lead with the ♣A, you'll need to make a key play of ruffing a club in hand. When you cash the A, the appearance of the Q from East is a welcome sight. You play a heart to the Jack, and ruff dummy's last club. You complete the elimination by playing the K, a diamond to the Ace and a diamond ruff. The position now is

 K1087 Deal  Q
 -  -
 Q  J
 -  1096

You now exit with a spade. If East wins the trick, he has to concede a ruff and discard. If West wins the trick, he can either give you a ruff and discard, or play a spade and give you an extra spade trick. +1430 for the good guys!

An important lesson to be learnt from this hand is that when you see dummy, even if you don't approve of partner's bidding, you should put the bidding aside and concentrate on making the contract. If you are annoyed by partner's bidding, your chances of spotting the winning play, and hence making the contract, go down.

Bridge Baron's double dummy analysis verifies that the elimination play is the only way to make the contract. The double dummy analysis also points out that ruffing a club at trick 2 is essential to get the timing right for the elimination.
Par Contract Analysis:
According to Bridge Baron's par contract analysis, the par contract for North-South is 5. Indeed, West could have defeated the contract by leading a spade; this kills the elimination play. The contract would have been cold if East had the singleton ♠10. In that case, West cannot lead a spade without giving up a spade trick, and on a non-spade lead, South will make his contract with the elimination play.

Bridge Baron deal No : 42760542795681216290202951482

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