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Deal of the Week (Aug 18, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
pass     4♣*     pass   4**
pass     7NT     all pass

*   - Gerber
** - One Ace

Accustomed to holding bad cards, you happily pick up a 15 point hand and open 1NT. Partner asks for Aces with Gerber, and you show one. Partner's 7NT bid nearly throws you off your chair! This must be your lucky day.

When dummy comes down, ou note sadly that even with a combined total of 36 High Card Points, the contract is not cold; there are only 12 top tricks. West leads the ♠10. However, you do have several options to try for the 13th trick. Clubs could break 3-3; the heart finesse could work; or you could play for a squeeze. You win the spade lead, and play two rounds of diamonds, East discarding a heart on the second round. You play the ♣A, and a club to the Queen, West pitching a spade. You play a spade to dummy, East discarding another heart. How do you proceed?

Since East has 6 hearts to West's 3, you should play East for the K. You plan now is to cash your spade winner and diamond winners and squeeze East in hearts and clubs. But make sure that you cash the A while you have an entry back to hand. This play is called the Vienna Coup. Here is the position when you cash your last winner:

 109 Deal  -
 9  K
 -  -
 -  J10

You cash the last diamond, discarding the heart from dummy, and East has no good answer. If he discards the K, your queen will become good. If he discards a club, you will play a club to dummy, and score the last trick with the ♣2 in style. Yes, you preserved the deuce for this reason!

In the end position, you don't need to keep your eyes wide open, and count East's club discards. You just need to look if the K is discarded. If so, the cash the Q. If not, then play a club to dummy.

 1098762 Deal  5
 984  K76532
 932  10
 7  J10964

Note that the key to the entire hand was to cash side suit winners initially, to find out the distribution of the hand. Another instructive point is North's decision to bid Gerber, resisting the temptation to blast directly into 7NT, just in case the ♠A was missing.

Bridge Baron's double dummy solver concurred that the squeeze was required to make 7NT. The double dummy solver also confirmed that the Vienna Coup, i.e. cashing the A, was a necessary play.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is of course 7NT.

Bridge Baron deal No : 38282662097328381055718428041

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