Bridge Hand Of The Week

Thanks, Ozzie

May 25, 2015
Dlr: South Vul: Both
A 10 8 7 6 3 8 3 2 K 4 K 4

K 9 5 2 K 7 4 A 9 8 3 A Q
West Pass All Pass
North 4
East Pass
South1NT 4

North's transfer to 4 improved the contract positionally because a heart lead from East might well have beaten the contract if played by North. Having perhaps dodged a bullet, how would you play the contract after West leads the J and you find that East has the missing spades? Can you avoid three heart losers when the A is offside?

Solution

Declarer continued with the K and A, ruffing a diamond in dummy. He returned to hand with the A to lead his last diamond, West producing the queen. Declarer was at the crossroads.

If he ruffed his last diamond, he would have to lead a heart himself. On the actual layout, East would rise with the jack to prevent South from inserting the 7 to endplay West. The defenders would then claim three heart tricks to beat the game game. The full deal:

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

K 9 5 2 K 7 4 A 9 8 3 A Q

Instead of ruffing the diamond, declarer must discard a heart from dummy, leaving West on lead to break hearts or give a ruff-sluff, on which declarer could pitch another heart from dummy. South would lose only one heart, one diamond and a trump.

It would not help East to ruff his partner's diamond winner, of course, because declarer would then lose just one trump and two hearts.

In case you are wondering about the title of this article, it's a tribute to the late Oswald Jacoby, who introduced North Americans to transfer bids over 1NT and 2NT openers.