Bridge Hand Of The Week

Bad break, good play

Nov 24, 2014
Dlr: South Vul: Both
A 8 6 4 J 6 5 2 K 7 2 Q 5

2 A K 8 7 4 A 5 3 A K 6 2
West Pass All Pass
North 3
East Pass

South saw little point in asking for key cards, which might give East a chance to double North's response for the lead. West leads the Q and, when dummy is tabled, declarer can see that 6 would be easy if trumps were no worse than 3-1.Things become a little more complicated at trick two when East discards a club on the A. Put yourself in declarer's place. How do you plan to take 12 tricks?


After learning of the 4-0 trump split, declarer needed West to have started with at least four spades. A singleton would be a normal lead in this case, but West had not led a minor suit, so declarer presumed that West had begun with at least two cards in each minor.

Declarer abandoned trumps and led a club to the queen to ruff a spade. After cashing the A, declarer played the A and a diamond to the king, then ruffed dummy's third spade.

Declarer continued with the K, which offered West no winning option. At the table, West ruffed in with the 9 to prevent a diamond discard from dummy. Declarer overruffed with dummy's J and continued by ruffing dummy's last spade and cashing the K.

At that point, West held the queen of trumps and a spade. Dummy was left with a trump and a diamond, and declarer had a low card in each of the minors. Now declarer needed only to advance his last club. Declarer could not be prevented from scoring dummy's remaining trump for his 12th trick.

Alternatively, declarer could have ruffed a spade at trick two and led a heart to the king at trick 11 to achieve a similar en passant position.

The full deal:

A 8 6 4 J 6 5 2 K 7 2 Q 5
Q J 10 7 3 Q 10 9 3 10 8 J 7
K 9 5 -- Q J 9 6 4 10 9 8 4 3

2 A K 8 7 4 A 5 3 A K 6 2