Contact usAbout usAffiliates
Deal of the Week (Jul 28, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West  North  East  South
2♠*   dbl      pass    3♠
pass   3NT    pass    4
pass   6       all pass

* Weak Two Bid

West's preempt created a difficult problem for you. You play the Lebensohl convention, and a bid of 3 would be constructive. However, in spite of the fact that you have only 8 high card points, the singleton spade, two bullets, and support for at least one of partner's suits make this hand very powerful. Game is a favorite to make. Bidding 4 is dangerous if partner has a strong hand, with no heart support (as in this hand). Therefore, you choose to bid a game forcing 3♠, an overbid, but arguably the least of the evils.

Partner's 3NT posed another problem. Can the takeout doubler really have 2 or more spade stoppers? Is partner bidding based on the strength of your 3♠ bid? It doesn't seem right to pass 3NT, so you pull to 4, still searching for the right game. Partner, who has a monster of a hand, jumps to 6 and ends the auction. The final contract is quite reasonable. West leads the ♠K, captured by dummy's Ace. You play a club to the Ace, in order to lead a diamond to dummy's Queen. East wins the King, and returns a diamond, west pitching a spade. If trumps split 2-2, the hand would have been cold, as you would have been able to ruff dummy's spades in hand (or ruff your heart losers in dummy). Now, if you attempt either of those lines, you will fail (East can overruff if you try to ruff a spade in hand. If you ruff hearts in dummy, you will promote East's 10 into the setting trick). Is this the end of the road?

At this stage, you need West to have the J in order to make the contract. You draw the last trump, west pitches another spade. A key play now is to ruff a spade in hand (it is okay to cash one more round of club before doing so). You will see why this is important in a minute. Now, you should finish clubs. This is the position before the last club is played:

 Q9 Deal  
 J75  K9643
East discards a heart, and so do you. But West is caught in a variation of a trump squeeze. If West discards a spade, you will ruff a spade, and dummy's ♠10 becomes a winner. If West chooses to discard a heart instead, you will advance the Q from dummy. If East covers with the King, you will win the Ace, and ruff a heart, bringing down West's Jack, and the 10 in hand becomes good. If East ducks smoothly, you will have a decision to make. If East has the K and has made a good duck, you should run it. Or you have an option of going up with the Ace, and playing West to have KJ of hearts at this stage. The odds favor playing East for the K, but there is a lot of psychology involved. Your table presence, East's calibre, and East's tempo in playing to the trick factor into making the decision. Also, if you did not ruff a spade before playing off the clubs, the timing for the squeeze would have been wrong.
 KQ9873 Deal  J6
 J75  K9643
 4  K108
 1087  942

East could have defended better after winning the K. A switch to the K will break the slam, killing the entry to the squeeze. On the last club, West can safely discard a heart, and you will no longer have the entry to ruff out the hearts.

That said, switching to the K is a very difficult play to make. It will solve your guess and present you with the twelfth trick if you hold the J. However, a low heart switch by East is as deadly as the K switch, for practical purposes. As there is still room for West to hold the K, declarer has to choose between running this to the Queen, and playing for diamonds 2-2. If East plays a low heart smoothly, we believe that declarer is likely to (and should) go up with the Ace. In addition to being technically brilliant, the psychological aspects associated with this deal make it a truly beautiful one.

Bridge Baron's double dummy solver was instrumental in pointing out the trump squeeze to us. The double dummy solver was also the authority in confirming that a switch to the K will result in the defeat of the contract.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4NT by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : 08649743802294954933272426410

You can download this deal in PPL format, and view it with Bridge Baron here :
Deal Of The Week
(Please note : To avoid spammers and abusive language this board is moderated.)