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Deal of the Week (Jan 05, 2007) Click here for Archives

West   North   East   South
pass     2*    pass    2♠
pass    3NT     all pass

Playing in a pair event, you choose to open a 15-17 NT in preference to opening 1, and reach 3NT after a transfer sequence. Concealing the heart suit turns out to be an advantage, as West leads the 5. You play low from dummy, East shows out discarding the ♣6, you win the trick with the 9. You lead the ♠10 at trick 2, West plays the King without any thought, you win with dummy's Ace. You continue by playing a diamond to the Jack. West wins the Ace, and plays the 8, you win the trick with dummy's Ace, East discards a spade. The contract is safe, but since the scoring is matchpoints, plan the play to score 11 tricks.

You have 2 tricks in spades, 5 in hearts, and two sure minor suit tricks (the ♣A and K) on top. East's initial spade discard (along with West's quick ♠K play) suggests that East holds the remaining spades. Since West won your J with the Ace, you know that East holds the Q. Also, there is a 75% chance that East holds at least 1 club honor, so you can score two tricks in the suit by leading a low to the Jack, and leading low to the 10 later. Unfortunately, to pick up the Q and take two finesses in clubs, you would need two additional entries to dummy and you only have one (the ♠Q). You must think of another way to pick up East's finesseable cards, like a squeeze.

After winning the 8 return with the Ace, it looks as though you should play a diamond to the 10, to finesse against East's Queen. However, the correct play is a club to the 10. This play has the effect of isolating the club guard to the East hand while communication is still preserved in the spade suit. West wins the ♣K and does best to return a heart passively. You win and run your hearts. Assuming East has the minor suit queens along with the remaining spades, the last heart will squeeze him in three suits. Here is the position when the last heart is played:

  Deal  J8
 10  -
 964  Q8
 75  Q8

When the last heart is played (dummy pitching a diamond), East has no good discard. A spade is obviously fatal, as dummy's spades become good. A minor suit discard is no better. Say East discards a club. Declarer cashes the ♣A and ♣10, squeezing East again. True, declarer does not need to squeeze East a second time; crossing to dummy with the ♠Q and taking the diamond finesse will net the rest of the tricks too. Executing the repeating element of the triple squeeze is more fun though!

 K Deal  J8532
 108653  -
 A964  Q82
 K75  Q9862

After receiving a heart lead, Bridge Baron's double dummy solver asserts that 11 tricks can be taken. Playing dummy's 7 at trick 1 would have worked out well as the cards lie, since it provides the extra entry to dummy. This is not the best play; declarer was right in winning the opening lead in hand to start on spades. Furthermore, at the point where declarer won the West's 8 exit in dummy, the double dummy analysis confirms that a club play was necessary to come to 11 tricks.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4NT by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N5076-53130-02656-62594-62694-03154

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