Bridge Hand Of The Week

Danger ahead

Feb 20, 2017
Dlr: South Vul: E-W
7 15
Q 7 5 9 4 2 6 4 2 K Q 7 6

A K J 10 4 5 A K 8 7 5 9 5
West Pass All Pass
North 2
East Pass
South14

Against your spade game, West starts with the K, continuing with a second heart, which you ruff. What is your plan for taking 10 tricks?

Solution

After ruffing at trick two, West counted seven top tricks. Provided diamonds were 3-2, two more could be set up in diamonds. A 10th could come from clubs. One danger was that if declarer drew trumps and ducked a diamond, the defenders would force him again. When one of them got in with the A, he would be able to cash a heart.

With that scenario in mind, declarer cashed the A, followed by a club to dummys king and Easts ace. After ruffing the heart return, declarer ducked a diamond to Easts 9. East could not see a trick in the minors, so he exited with a heart.

After the heart was ruffed with dummys queen, declarer drew trumps and claimed 10 tricks. He made five trumps in hand, a heart ruff in dummy, three diamonds and a club.

Declarer could have played the A, K and another diamond on the above layout, but that would have proved fatal if East had begun with (say) 3=6=2=2 shape. In that case, East could have discarded a club on the third round of diamonds and ruffed Wests club exit for a one-trick set. The full deal:

7 8 10 15
Q 7 5 9 4 2 6 4 2 K Q 7 6
9 3 K Q J 3 Q 10 3 10 8 4 3
8 6 2 A 10 8 7 6 J 9 A J 2

A K J 10 4 5 A K 8 7 5 9 5