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Deal of the Week (Dec 29, 2006) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
                       1♣    1NT*
pass     2♣      pass    2
pass    3NT     all pass

* 16-18

You are South, playing in a Sectional Swiss Teams against average opponents. Since your partnership plays sound 1NT overcalls, partner chose to invite aggressively. You accepted the invitation, and are declaring 3NT on the lead of the ♣4. East wins the Ace, and returns the ♣8.

You have your first decision of the day - do you play run this to the 10, or do you play the Queen? There are not many clues to guide you here. You know that East is not the player to make this play from AKx(x), so you play low. It turns out that you could not ge this right, as West wins the Jack and cashes the King, East following. West cashes the fourth club now, you discard a heart from dummy, East discards an encouraging 9, you discard a heart as well. West plays a heart to East's Queen and your Ace. Your play.

East is marked with the remaining high cards. You have 4 diamonds, 1 heart, and need 4 spades for the contract. You need two entries to dummy, one to take the spade finesse, and the other to cash the fourth spade winner. You have only one entry, the K, and need to manufacture another.

For starters, East should hold less than 4 spades - if East has Kxxx in spades you cannot take 4 tricks. Even if East has Kx in spades, one entry is not enough; say you cross to the K, play the ♠Q, play a low spade capturing East's King with the Ace - when you lead the ♠10, if you overtake with the Jack, West's 8 becomes high.

Let us now turn our attention to the diamond suit. Even if the 10 is doubleton, you cannot succeed. You can enter dummy twice in diamonds to untangle the spade winners, but your diamond winner will be stranded. Your only chance is to play West for the 10, and sub-par defense. You lead the 7, and When West plays low, you close your eyes and finesse the 8!. When you open your eyes, you are relieved to find that it held the trick. Now the rest of the hand is easy. You run the ♠Q, play a spade to the 10, cash the ♠A, bringing down East's King, play the J to the K, cash the thirteenth spade, and take two more diamond tricks.

Why did this line of play require the opponents to misdefend? Because when you led the 7, West could have played the 10, denying you two entries to dummy! However, this is not the Spingold, and not many Wests will find the killing defense, so this line of play succeeds 50% of the time, whenever West holds the 10.

 764 Deal  K85
 754  KQ98
 1062  543
 KJ64  A87

According to Bridge Baron's double dummy solver, the defense can always prevail as long as they don't lead diamonds or spades, provided West goes up with the 10.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 3♠ by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N4743-97099-40894-42122-50544-26610

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Deal Of The Week
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