Bridge Hand Of The Week

Options, options

Oct 20, 2014
Dlr: North Vul: E-W
5 3 Q 6 2 J 8 A K Q 8 7 3

A K 7 6 A K 7 3 9 6 10 6 2
West Pass Pass
EastPass Pass All Pass

This deal occurred in a pairs game, which accounts for the declarer's trying for 10 tricks in hearts rather than 11 in clubs. West, who had been listening to the auction, begins with A, Q and a third diamond. What is your plan?


Declarer saw that his main chance was trumps breaking 3-3. He then pondered what he could do if trumps were 4-2.

After some thought, he saw that he could survive a 4-2 trump break whenever the player with four trumps had a singleton club and four spades. After ruffing the third diamond in dummy while discarding a spade from hand, he cashed the Q before playing the A and the K.

Now it was East's turn to consider his options. As the cards lay, if he had ruffed the second club, the rest would have been easy for declarer. East could play another diamond (best), but declarer could ruff in dummy and return to hand with a spade to draw trumps and claim.

There would be a similar outcome if East had thrown a diamond on the second club. Declarer would have continued with the A, K and another trump to put East on lead with only spades left. Declarer would have won the forced spade return and run the clubs for his contract. After some thought, East discarded a low spade. Now it was declarer's turn to reconsider his options.

Declarer knew East well. He was not the sort of player who would refuse to ruff the second club with only two or three trumps. So declarer played East for four trumps. He cashed the A and K, followed by spade ruff in dummy. When the Q was played, East could do no better than ruff and play a diamond. As declarer had the A K 7 left, he ruffed this with the 7 and took the last two tricks with master trumps for his contract.

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

A K 7 6 A K 7 3 9 6 10 6 2