Bridge Hand Of The Week

The only chance

Dec 28, 2015
Dlr: East Vul: E-W
21 8
K A K 4 A K 7 4 A 8 5 3 2

Q 3 Q J 9 6 5 2 9 3 K 7 4
West Pass 4
North 2NT 6
EastPass Pass All Pass
South23

After you opened with a weak 2, North made an inquiry with his bid of 2NT. You showed a feature ace or king in clubs, so even after West tried to muddy the water by leaping to 4, North put you in slam. West starts with the A, East following with the 2, and continues with a second spade. What is your plan to making this slam?

Solution

On the second round of spades, declarer correctly ruffed with the A. When he continued with the K, West discarded a spade. Declarer then finessed against Easts 10 and drew the last two trumps with the Q and J.

Declarer could count only 11 tricks six hearts, a spade ruff and four minor-suit winners. The only chance for 12 tricks was a squeeze against East. For that to happen, West had to have at most two clubs and no more than three diamonds.

West was known to have nine spades, and if he was 2-2 in the minors, any play would work. If West had three diamonds, a little work was needed to take the mystery out of the deal and make sure the squeeze worked when East had only four diamonds.

After pulling trumps, declarer played dummys top diamonds and ruffed a diamond. This had two effects: The first was to clarify what declarer needed to play for: West beginning with 9=0=3=1 shape and East with 1=4=4=4.

Declarer then played his last trump, throwing a third club from dummy, which held the singleton 7 and the A 8. Declarer had the K 7 4. On the play of the last trump, East had no winning discard from the Q and Q J 10. The full deal:

21 6 5 8
K A K 4 A K 7 4 A 8 5 3 2
A J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 J 10 2 9
2 10 8 7 3 Q 8 6 5 Q J 10 6

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