Bridge Hand Of The Week

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Dec 29, 2014
Dlr: South Vul: E-W
13 16
K 10 6 2 K 6 K Q 10 6 3 Q 8

A 8 7 4 3 A 4 A 9 A 5 3 2
West Pass Pass Pass All Pass
North 2NT 44
East Pass Pass Pass
South13NT 46

North's 2NT was a game-forcing spade raise. South's 3NT showed extras but without a singleton or void. After a couple of cuebids, South took a chance on slam. West led the J, covered by the queen, king and ace. South played the A and a spade to the king, West discarding a heart. Put yourself in South's seat. How will you get to 12 tricks?

Solution

After getting the news about the unavoidable trump loser, declarer paused to consider what he needed to make the slam. Obviously, he needed to play four rounds of diamonds with East following suit so that he could discard two of his club losers. If this came to pass, the fifth diamond would provide a place for his last club, restricting the defenders to East's trump trick.

Declarer realized that if East started with four diamonds, he would be twice as likely as West to have the J, so South finessed the 9 at trick four. After it held, declarer cashed A, crossed to dummy with the K and played the K and Q, discarding clubs from his hand as East helplessly followed suit. When East ruffed the next diamond, it was a trick too late as declarer discarded his last club. This was the only trick declarer lost.

Note that if it had been West rather than East who had the trump trick, declarer would have started diamonds by cashing the ace and then finessing dummy's 10 on the same logic that led him to the winning line on the actual layout: To make the slam, declarer needed for the opponent with the trump trick to follow to four rounds of diamonds.

The full deal:

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

A 8 7 4 3 A 4 A 9 A 5 3 2