Contact usAbout usAffiliates
Deal of the Week (Feb 02, 2007) Click here for Archives

The Auction:
West   North   East   South
                       1♠    pass
pass     dbl      pass    1NT
pass    3NT     all pass

This hand was played in an online game, the players involved were all experts, and the scoring was IMPs. You are invited to take the South seat. Neither side is vulnerable, East deals and opens 1♠. After two passes partner reopens with a double. You have your first decision of the day. While it is tempting to pass for penalties, there are quite a few reasons why you should not. First of all, even though you have five trumps, your trump spots are very weak. Second, you don't have an attractive opening lead. If you don't find the right opening lead, declarer might gain a valuable tempo, and there is no way of figuring out what the right lead would be. In the long run, passing is a losing proposition, so you bid a sensible 1NT. Partner raises to 3NT, which becomes the final contract.

West leads the ♠J, East lets this ride to your Queen. You play the ♣Q, and East drops the Jack. Plan the play.

East threatens to establish tricks in the spade suit before you can come to 9 tricks. You have the advantage of knowing that East holds all the key missing honors, and can put pressure on him in the endgame. The first question is do you play a club to the 8? While the ♣J might be a singleton, an expert East would routinely falsecard the Jack from J9(x). If the ♣8 loses to the 9, East will clear the spade suit and the contract will be set. The correct play is to go up with the ♣A.

East discards a spade. No problem - you cash your two club winners. East discards another spade and a diamond. You play a heart to the Queen, which wins. If East has two or three hearts, or if West has the 10, you will get an extra trick in the suit, by playing a heart to the 9. Therefore, you continue by playing a heart to the 9, which unfortunately loses to the 10. Here is the position when East started with four hearts headed by the King-Ten:

 9 Deal  A10
 -  K3
 J1093  A6
 9  -

East has no good return. If he returns a heart, you will have an extra heart trick and can establish a ninth trick in diamonds. If he returns a spade, you will get an extra spade trick, and can establish a ninth trick in diamonds. A diamond return would give you two diamond tricks. In fact, if East returns a low diamond, you will endplay him again with a diamond, and emerge with 10 tricks.

 J9 Deal  A10765
 64  K1032
 J1093  A64
 97542  J

It turns out that defending 1♠X would indeed have been a losing proposition, even after partner produced a great hand. Only a club lead or a spade honor would net +300, for a 3 IMP loss. Any other lead would let declarer take 6 tricks.

The other noteworthy point in this deal is the club suit. Holding J9 or J9x in the East chair, would you have falsecarded with the Jack when declarer played the ♣Q? From East's perspective 3NT is laydown, and holding J9x the only chance is to lead declarer astray by feigning a singleton Jack. Opportunities to falsecard are frequent when holding J9(x), or Q10(x), and were first analyzed by Terence Reese.

According to Bridge Baron's double dummy solver, it is always possible to run the clubs, and emdplay East into conceding a ninth, regardless of the defense. You can use the double dummy solver to experiment and see this yourself. Of course, if you finesse the ♣8, the same endplay is still available for 10 tricks instead of 9.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract is 4NT by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N1064-44453-59372-15801-08860-97453

You can download this deal in PPL format, and view it with Bridge Baron here :
Deal Of The Week
(Please note : To avoid spammers and abusive language this board is moderated.)