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Deal of the Week (Nov 10, 2006) Click here for Archives
You are East on this deal, playing matchpoints. LHO opens 1, partner and RHO both pass. It is a very close decision whether or not to balance. You eventually choose to pass, and 1 becomes the final contract.

After some deliberation, partner leads the Q, you encourage with the eight. Declarer wins the Ace and plays a low spade to the Jack, and your Queen. How should you continue?


 K65 Deal  Q1087
 Q4  K87
 A82  Q107
 Q10532  A98

Declarer is threatening to ruff spades in dummy. If you give partner a heart ruff, he may not be able to switch to trumps profitably. Even though it is tempting to give partner a heart ruff, it is imperative that you switch to a trump now. Having decided to do so, you must take the precaution of switching to the Q or 10. This is an "encircling" or "surrounding" play, trapping dummy's nine. If you switch to the seven of trumps, declarer will surely let it ride to the nine, and can later pick up your trump suit. Say you switch to the 10. Declarer will cover the Jack, partner will win the Ace and return a heart. Now is the time to give partner his heart ruff, and you duly do so. After ruffing the heart, partner returns the 8, restricting declarer to one diamond ruff, marking the end of a successful defense.

 K62 Deal  AJ95
 J9854  76
 1054  9832
 32  K64

Bridge writers love the surrounding play, and have written numerous articles on it. Here is a classic example:

North opens 1♣, South responds 1NT, North bids 3NT which ends the auction. West leads a fourth best heart, won in dummy. Declarer now crosses to the K, and runs the ♣Q. East wins the trick, and realizes that the spade suit offers the only chance to set the contract. East switches to the ♠J, surrounding dummy's ten, netting four tricks in the suit. If East switches to a low spade, declarer can run it to the ten, after which it is no longer possible for East-West to score four tricks in spades. Surrounding plays seldom occur in the trump suit, this week's deal being a rare exception.

It turns out that a double dummy lead of a low diamond (requiring you to insert the 7) will defeat the contract two tricks. After the Q lead, declarer can scramble seven tricks if you give partner a heart ruff before switching to a diamond honor. The double dummy solver confirms that switching to a diamond honor is required to defeat the contract.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 3NT by East-West. This doesn't mean much as it is relatively impossible to make 3NT, let alone reach there with a combined total of 22 HCP.

Bridge Baron deal No : N0234-58692-08345-28538-57862-97410

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