Bridge Hand Of The Week

Combining chances

Jul 27, 2015
Dlr: South Vul: Both
7 6 9 8 4 A 9 5 4 A K J 10

A 5 A K 7 2 K J 6 3 9 5 4
West Pass
North 3NT
East All Pass
South1NT

West leads the Q. You duck but have to win the next spade with your ace. What is the best way to try for nine tricks?

Solution

After winning the A at trick two, declarer had to decide how best to combine his chances in the minors to take six tricks between the two suits. As usual with combination plays, the basic idea is to cash both top honors in one suit and finesse in the other. As there were fewer diamonds out than clubs, declarer decided that diamonds was the suit in which to cash the two top honors. First, though, he cashed the A, just in case there was a singleton Q lurking in a defenders hand.

When the Q did not appear, declarer broached diamonds by playing a low diamond toward his king in case East had a singleton Q. Declarer saw also that a singleton Q with West would still require his taking the club finesse for the contract.

In this case, Easts Q appeared and declarer took it with the king. After cashing the J, declarer finessed the 9 and cashed the ace. Four diamond tricks, two in hearts, two in clubs and one in spades pushed declarers trick total to nine.

If the Q had not appeared after declarer had cashed the king and ace of the suit, declarer would have re-entered his hand twice (if necessary) in hearts to take the club finesse. The full deal:

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

A 5 A K 7 2 K J 6 3 9 5 4