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Deal of the Week (Feb 23, 2007) Click here for Archives

West   North   East   South
                       1      1♠1
dbl2     33      dbl4    4♠(!!)
all pass

1 - Ill-advised action, not recommended
2 - Negative Double, showing 4 hearts and some values (around 6 or more points)
3 - Mixed Raise, showing 7-9 points and 4+ spades
4 - "I really have diamonds"

This hand came up in a team-of-four knockout match, where the scoring is IMPs. East opened 1, at the table South chose to overcall 1♠. This is a poor call that provides an incorrect description of the South hand. If South had a better spade suit along the lines of AKJ10, AQJ9, AKQ9, the 1♠ overcall would have some merit, as the hand also contains length in the opponent suit (diamonds). Even then, overcalling is likely to make partner misjudge the auction.

In any case, West made a Negative Double, and North bid 3, which is a "mixed raise" showing 7-9 points and 4 or more spades. East doubled this, showing a real diamond suit, given that the 1 could be made on a three-card suit. South was not finished bidding, and he jumped to 4♠! If it is any consolation, the Deal of the Week is a column on card play, and not bidding!

South did not deserve the five trumps that dummy produced. West led the J, East won this with the Ace and returned a low diamond. South rose with the King, West following with the Ten. Think about your next move before you read further.

The right play is a club. Plan the play when

1. West plays the Ace and returns a club (East plays the Queen when you win with dummy's King).
2. West plays the Queen, you cover with the King, East plays the Ace and returns a low diamond.

In both cases, you know how many points each player has shown in diamonds and clubs. Since there is only one way to play the heart suit (low to the queen), but more than one way to play the spades, the next suit to test is hearts. Let us look at each case in detail.

 765 Deal  K
 K1097  864
 J10  AQ764
 A983  QJ76
Case 1 - West plays the Ace and returns a club (East plays the Queen when you win with dummy's King)
East has shown 6 points in diamonds (Ace and Queen), and has played the ♣Q and is likely to have the Jack as well for 3 points. West has shown 4 points in clubs and 1 point in diamonds. East should have one major suit King, and West the other. You lead a heart to your Queen. You are happy if it wins, because this will mean that East has the K and West has the ♠K, and you can take the spade finesse for your contract. If West produces the K, then you will have to hope that East has the singleton ♠K and play a spade to the Ace.

 K65 Deal  7
 10974  K86
 J10  AQ764
 QJ98  A763
Case 2 - West plays the Club Queen, you cover with the King, East plays the Ace and returns a low diamond
This time, you have 2 club losers and 1 diamond loser, so you cannot afford to lose a heart. You have limited options, you need East to hold the K. This means, you need West to hold the ♠K. Since West played the ♣Q, he certainly has the Jack as well, so you can play a club towards the ten. So, your line of play should consist of the following plays:

1. Heart finesse.
2. Spade finesse.
3. Club to the Ten, establishing the ♣J for a heart discard.

The order in which the above plays are executed is not particularly important, but since you're in dummy, it is convenient to start with the heart finesse and then make the other two plays.

There is a third case that was not discussed in the solution. When you play a club towards dummy at trick 3, if West plays low, you should play the King. This is because holding both the Queen and the Jack, most players (even experts) would split their honors. If the King wins, then you make the same play as line 1. If East wins the Ace, then your only chance is to play East for Kx in hearts, and in turn play West to hold the ♠K and take the spade finesse.

A double dummy analysis would not be applicable to this deal, as the exercise is to place opponents' cards by playing suits in the correct order.
Par Contract Analysis:
The par contract on this deal is 4♠ by North-South.

Bridge Baron deal No : N1991-85001-86522-95081-57347-15824 , N3588-18919-55522-94121-81676-90269

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Deal Of The Week
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