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

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

You take the East seat in this defensive problem, playing IMPs. You open the bidding with a 3 preempt, South and East pass. North reopens with a double, and South's 3NT ends the auction. Partner dutifully leads the 3. Before reading on, you should think through your defense.

If declarer has 9 top tricks, there is nothing you can do. You therefore assume that declarer does not have 9 top tricks. The obvious move of setting up hearts seems to be a good idea. Let us look at the heart suit in closer detail. The missing hearts are the K, 10, 9 and 2. Unless South has lost his mind, he should have the K for the 3NT bid. Also, declarer cannot have a doubleton heart; partner would lead the 10 from 1093, and the 2 from 1032 or 932. If partner has the singleton 3, prospects are bleak, as the heart suit becomes entryless. The only relevant holding that you should be concerned about is partner having the 32 doubleton. In that scenario, playing the A and continuing with the Q will remove partner's hearts, and the heart suit is as good as dead.

The correct play to trick 1 is the J. This preserves communications with partner. Declarer can with the trick with the K, but when he has to give up the lead, partner can win and put you in with the 2, and you can enjoy all the hearts. You play the J, eagerly thinking about the moment where you cash your lovely hearts. Declarer apparently has done some thinking too, as he ducks the J. What now?

Declarer's play of ducking the heart has confirmed that he does not have 9 top tricks, or he would have simply cashed them. Establishing the hearts would do you no good, as declarer's duck has hampered the defensive communication in the heart suit. The obvious defense that suggests itself is to switch to dummy's weakness, diamonds. Declarer plays the Jack, which is taken by partner's Queen. Partner now returns the 2, you take the Ace and play another diamond. Declarer tries his best by going up with the Ace, and playing a club to the Jack, hoping that you started with a doubleton diamond. That is not to be, as you win the ♣Q and play a diamond to your partner for the setting trick. A very nice defense from both you and your partner, for one down.

 Q10974 Deal  83
 32  AQJ7654
 KQ4  763
 K92  Q

This is not a difficult hand compared to most of the other deals of the week. It is easy to get careless though, and play the A at trick 1, or continue with the A and a heart when declarer ducks the J.

Bridge Baron's double dummy solver confirms that this is the only line of defense to beat the contract. Both you and your partner had to be alert and find the cooperative defense to beat the contract.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4♣ by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N1938-21791-74544-13602-86401-77456

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