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Deal of the Week (Jul 21, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West  North  East  South
2*    dbl      pass  3NT
all pass

* Weak Two Bid

Both North and South had difficult bidding decisions. North's action of making a takeout double with a doubleton diamond, and South bidding 3NT with only one heart stopper were not perfect. Then again, this is the reason preempts are effective, they make life difficult for opponents. In any case, final contract was reasonable.

The opening lead is the K. Since West is marked with six hearts for the weak two bid, declarer won the trick with the A, as a diamond switch might be dangerous on certain layouts. The best continuation is not totally clear; declarer played a club to dummy's 8. East won the trick with the 10, but was endplayed in three suits. East chose to play a spade, and when declarer stuck in the Jack, West played the Queen and solved declarer's guess in that suit. When declarer cashed a third spade, West discarded a heart. At this stage, declarer offers to let you play the rest of the hand. How should you continue?

You have 8 tricks in the form of 4 spades, 1 heart, 1 diamond and 2 clubs. It is clear that East has the K. This is not only because West has shown up with 8 points (KQJ of hearts and Queen of spades) so far, but also because East would have returned a diamond at trick 3 if he did not have the King. West has is known to have 2 spades and 6 hearts. There is a line of play to guarantee the contract irrespective of the club position, assuming East has the K.

You should continue by cashing the top clubs. If clubs divide 3-3, then the thirteenth club is your ninth trick. If East turns up with 4 clubs, you will cash the last spade winner to remove East's exit card in that suit, and exit with the ♣J to East's Queen; East's forced diamond return away from the King will be the game-going trick. Finally, in the unlikely event that West started with 4 clubs, you know that West's distribution is 2-6-1-4. You will lead the Q from dummy, ducking if East covers with the King. If West follows with the J, your Ace and 10 are winners. If not, you will stick in the 10 on East's forced diamond return, since West has no more diamonds.

 Q6 Deal  8752
 KQJ1094  8
 J92  K763
 53  Q1072

When East returned a spade at trick 3, West could have made life difficult for declarer by not playing the Queen. Declarer then would have to guess the spade position; if East began with four spades to the Queen, declarer would have to repeat the finesse against East. On this deal, that play would result in West winning the Queen, and cashing five more heart tricks to set the contract.

A double dummy analysis is not completely suitable here, as the challenge is to find an optimal line of play that caters to any lie of opponents' cards.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4♠. However, the 4-3 fit offers lesser flexibility in the play, and 3NT is a better contract.

Bridge Baron deal No : 22959729463483415837683399196

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