Bridge Hand Of The Week

Choice of plans

Apr 20, 2015
Dlr: North Vul: E-W
8 6 5 3 A K 7 2 A K J 10 5

A K Q 4 9 5 7 4 2 A 9 7 2
West Pass Pass All Pass
North145
EastPass Pass Pass
South156

West leads the J and you are slightly disappointed by the rather threadbare dummy: 4 was a bit of an overbid. That, however, is in the past. Your job is to make 12 tricks, not to complain about the auction. What is your plan for landing the slam?

Solution

Declarer saw that he needed trumps to be 3-2 and to have some luck in the red suits to make the contract.

However, there were real transportation difficulties between the two hands. If the diamond finesse was successful, only one club ruff was needed, but if the Q was offside, two club ruffs would be necessary. Furthermore, if declarer took a diamond finesse at trick two and it lost he would no longer have the entries to take two club ruffs.

Declarer then considered the question, "What if I gave up on the diamond finesse?" The only issue was that although he could ruff two clubs, his only entry back to hand after the second ruff would be with a heart ruff.

After some thought, declarer decided the second approach was more appealing. He took the first trick with queen of trumps, then cashed the A and ruffed a club. The next card he called for surprised everyone at the table, particularly East: It was dummy's 10.

East took this with the queen and exited with a trump. After winning in hand with the K, declarer ruffed another club. There was only one way back to hand - in hearts - so declarer cashed the A and K and ruffed a heart. As that passed off successfully, declarer drew the last trump with the ace while throwing dummy's remaining heart. This left dummy with just the three high diamonds to cash.

The full deal:

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

A K Q 4 9 5 7 4 2 A 9 7 2