Bridge Hand Of The Week

Never give up

Dec 31, 2012
Dlr: West Vul: E-W
12 13
A J 7 5 4 6 K J 3 K 8 7 2

K 10 9 7 A Q 10 8 7 6 A 6 3
WestPass 3Pass
North146
East2Pass All Pass
South35

This deal came up in a South American tournament and was reported by Fernando Lema of Argentina. Put yourself in declarer's seat after West leads a low diamond against your slam. You win in hand and play the 10. West wins with the A and continues with a trump. Do you have a plan to overcome this good defense?

Solution

With any lead other than a trump, the play is much easier because declarer can ruff two heart losers in dummy and pitch the third on the A. Declarer (Carlos Pellegrini of Argentina) won the diamond lead in his hand, cashed the K and continued with the 10, hoping the hand that won the trick would not have another diamond.

West, however, took the A and played another trump. Pellegrini won the trick in his hand, ruffed a heart and played the A (pitching a club from hand - key play) and continued with another spade (ruffed in hand) to investigate the spade distribution.

When East discarded a heart on the third spade, declarer knew he wouldn't be able to pitch a loser on dummy's fifth spade, so he had one last hope to come to 12 tricks: a squeeze. This was the end position:

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

9 A 10 8 A 6

Declarer continued with three rounds of diamonds, pitching a club and two spades from dummy. East let go of one club and the Q, but on the last trump he had to trust that his partner had the 9. Bad luck: That card became declarer's 12th trick. The full deal:

12 7 8 13
A J 7 5 4 6 K J 3 K 8 7 2
Q 9 6 3 2 A 5 3 9 5 4 J 4
10 8 K Q J 8 4 2 2 Q 10 9 5

K 10 9 7 A Q 10 8 7 6 A 6 3