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Deal of the Week (Jun 16, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
South West North  East
pass    4♠     dbl     pass
5♣      pass   6♣    all pass

* 3♠ promises 7 spades in this vulnerability.

You are South on this deal, opponents are vulnerable, and you are not. East opens 3♠, which is raised to 4♠ by West. Partner doubles now, and you try 5♣. Partner raises this to 6, which ends the auction. West leads the ♠A, and switches to a diamond, taken by dummy's Ace. How do you proceed? (trumps break 3-1, with East having a singleton).

The contract hinges on the heart suit. At first glance, it appears right to take a finesse, as the preemptor is likely to hold a singleton. If you can obtain a count of East's holdings in the other three suits, you can make an informed decision in the heart suit. So far, you know that East has 7 spades and 1 club. If you can find out how many diamonds East has, you will know how many hearts he has. The plan should therefore be to ruff all four of dummy's diamonds in hand, in order to find out how the diamonds are divided in the opponents' hands.

The order in which you time the play is flexible. After you win the Ace of diamonds in dummy, lets say you ruff a diamond. You ruff your spade loser in dummy, and ruff another diamond, all following so far. You draw trumps in three rounds, noting that East has a singleton. You play a heart to the Ace, and ruff dummy's last diamond. Both opponents follow to this trick. Counting East's distribution, you know East has 7 spades, 1 club, and has just followed to 4 diamonds. He cannot have more than 1 heart. You can take the heart finesse with confidence, and claim your slam. On the fourth round of diamonds, if East had showed out, you would have counted him for 7 spades, 3 diamonds, 1 club, and therefore 2 hearts, and would have played for the drop in hearts.

 AJ2 Deal  KQ109743
 Q62  3
 K1064  9532
 J86  4

A double dummy analysis is not suitable for this problem, as the key to this hand is figuring out the distribution of the heart suit, and looking at all four hands would essentially give away the solution.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 6 by North-South. In 6, the decision in the heart suit has to be taken immediately. In 6♣, declarer has the luxury of drawing trumps, ruffing out dummy's diamonds in order to count the hand, and postponing the decision in the heart suit till the very end.

Bridge Baron deal No : 44165512953295340579233346010

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