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Deal of the Week (Sep 01, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West  North  East  South
1♣     pass    1    pass
1♠     pass    pass  1NT
all pass

After many weeks of adventurous game contracts, thrilling slams, and even the occasional hair raising grand slam, this week's deal is a quiet partscore. The scoring is matchpoints, with neither side vulnerable. Even though balancing with 1NT seems dangerous, selling out to 1♠ is even riskier! For example, if you defeat 1♠ by two tricks, and the rest of the field plays in 1NT with your cards and make two, +100 will be a bottom score in comparison with their +120. Partner produces a fine hand, and 1NT is an excellent contract.

When the deal was played, West led a low heart, South captured East's Queen with the King. South continued with a the A and a diamond, West produced the Jack, and dummy's Queen lost to the King. East now played back a heart to his partner's Jack, ducked in dummy. West cleared hearts, dummy's Ace winning the trick. Declarer now played the ♠Q, ducked by West. Any thoughts on how should declarer continue?

West's hand is an open book. He has to have the black aces to justify his opening. He is marked with 3 hearts, 2 diamonds (he wouldn't play the Jack if he had 3 of them), 4 spades (remember, he bid 1♠), and hence 4 clubs. These are the cards that remain (the exact club spots don't matter):

 A73 Deal  105
 -  10
 -  9
 AJ108  932

If declarer plays a spade now, West will win the Ace and play back a spade. When declarer cashes his diamonds, West will discard all his clubs, and take the last two tricks with the ♣A and the thirteenth spade. Playing a club results in the same fate; West will win the ♣A and play back a club. When he gets in with the ♠A, he will have a good club to cash. Declarer can turn the tables on West by cashing diamond winners. On the first diamond, West can safely discard a club. On the second diamond, West will be forced to unguard a black suit, say spades. Declarer can now cash the last diamond (not necessary, but makes life easier), and play a spade, the suit that West unguarded. West can win his Ace, but cannot prevent South from winning a trick in the other black suit, i.e. clubs.

 A732 Deal  1054
 J84  Q1076
 J8  K95
 AJ108  932

This is a complex deal to analyze, and Bridge Baron's double dummy solver was invaluable. North-South can always make 8 tricks as the cards lie. When declarer played A and a diamond to the Queen at trick 2, East could have restricted declarer to 7 tricks by letting the Queen hold! This will destroy declarer's communications. Having erred by winning the King, East could have held declarer to 8 tricks by playing a club through declarer's queen. However, none of this was obvious, and a majority of defenders would continue with a heart. Also, West found the only lead, a heart, to restrict declarer to 8 tricks. On any other lead, 9 tricks can be taken. There are many variations in the play, you can experiment them by playing the deal in Bridge Baron.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 2NT by North-South. After a heart lead, 8 tricks can always be made if declarer plays a diamond to the Queen without cashing the Ace.

Bridge Baron deal No : 35852019261731760557277416275

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