Bridge Hand Of The Week

Best chance

May 23, 2016
Dlr: South Vul: None
13 0 0 16
8 4 2 K 6 4 A 6 4 A Q 5 2

A K Q A 7 5 2 K 7 3 10 7 3
West Pass
North 3NT
East All Pass

Against your routine notrump game, West starts with the J. Can you see your way to nine tricks?


Declarer took the J in hand with the queen and ducked a heart. East won with the 9 and exited with the Q. Declarer won in hand and led a club to dummys queen and Easts king. East, who started with the K J 9 6, played a heart to dummys king and was pleased when declarer panicked and played the A and another club. Declarer finished down two.

At the other table, declarer saw that he had eight winners and that the club suit offered the best chance for the ninth trick. After taking the first trick with the Q, he continued with a club to the ace and the 2 from dummy. East won the third trick with the J and now declarer had an easy nine tricks for the taking.

If West had taken the 10 with the jack, declarer would have won the return and arranged to

lead his last club towards dummys queen. This way of tackling the club suit loses only when West started with a doubleton jack of clubs, roughly a 6% chance a priori.

In this particular instance, declarer could also have succeeded by endplaying East in hearts to lead into the A Q by ducking a heart and later a diamond. That would not have worked so well, however, had Easts red-suit distribution been reversed. The full deal:

13 3 8 16
8 4 2 K 6 4 A 6 4 A Q 5 2
J 10 9 7 5 8 Q 9 8 5 2 8 4
6 3 Q J 10 9 3 J 10 K J 9 6

A K Q A 7 5 2 K 7 3 10 7 3