Bridge Hand Of The Week

Think ahead

Apr 27, 2015
Dlr: West Vul: E-W
K 2 K 10 9 K J 6 2 K 8 6 5

Q 10 5 3 Q J 6 Q 8 4 3 A Q
West1All Pass

West led a fourth-highest 6 against your 3NT. The opponents have only 14 high-card points between them, so can be reasonable certain that West holds all three of missing aces. With that in mind, how do you play to take nine tricks?


Declarer was about to play low from dummy when he saw that if he did so, West would grab the first round of diamonds to play the A and J and he would have only eight tricks before he had to lead a heart. Then West would take the A immediately and cash two spade winners for a one-trick set.

So, declarer called for dummy's K. He then crossed to hand to lead a low diamond towards dummy. As the cards lay, if West rose with the ace and played on spades declarer would be safe as he would still have a spade stopper when the time came to develop a trick in hearts.

In practice, West played a low diamond on the first round and dummy's J won the trick. Dummy's K came next. West took this with his ace and returned a heart to declarer's queen. Next, declarer cashed the A and led a second low diamond to dummy's king. The 4-1 diamond break was a disappointment but not a real problem.

Declarer simply cashed the K and the J for his seventh and eighth tricks. All that remained was to lead a low diamond from hand. West took the 10 and A but then had to give declarer his ninth trick by leading away from his A.

The full deal:

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

Q 10 5 3 Q J 6 Q 8 4 3 A Q