Bridge Hand Of The Week

A useful card

Dec 25, 2017
Dlr: South Vul: Both
11 20
J 10 9 6 4 2 A J 5 8 A J 6

A K Q 8 K 6 2 K Q 2 K 7 3
West Pass Pass
North 36
East Pass All Pass
South2NT 4

In a team game, you open 2NT (20-22) and optimistically super-accept when partner transfers to spades. When the auction is over, you find yourself in the spade slam. West leads the 10. How will you get to 12 tricks?

Solution

The bidding was identical at both tables and somewhat surprising that neither South player bid 3NT to suggest the 4=3=3=3 shape along the way to 4. Anyway, the contact was a good one with 10 top tricks, an 11th available in diamonds and multiple prospects for a 12th.

The opening lead the 10 was the same at both tables. The first declarer played the J as a free finesse. It proved not to be so when East covered with the queen. After winning the first trick with the K, declarer cashed the A, then crossed to dummy by playing the 8 to dummys jack to lead a diamond. East played low because he knew from the auction that declarer had to have the K and Q, so playing the ace would give declarer two tricks. After the K held, declarer cashed the K, then played a club to the jack. When East produced the Q, the contract had to fail because declarer still had to lose a trick in hearts.

The second declarer reasoned that the J might be more useful if preserved, and he demonstrated that as long as East held the A, the contract was all but assured.

After winning the first trick in hand with the K, declarer drew two rounds of trumps, ending in dummy. When declarer led a diamond from the table, this East also found the best play of withholding the ace, so declarers K won the trick. After ruffing the 2, declarer returned to hand with a trump to lead the Q.

However, instead of ruffing it, declarer threw dummys 6. East was now endplayed. A heart or a club would give declarer his third trick in the suit led, and a diamond back would allow declarer to ruff in hand and throw the J from dummy. Declarer would then make six trumps, two hearts, a diamond, two clubs and a ruff in hand for a total of 12 tricks. The full deal:

11 1 8 20
J 10 9 6 4 2 A J 5 8 A J 6
5 10 9 8 J 9 6 5 4 8 5 4 2
7 3 Q 7 4 3 A 10 7 3 Q 10 9

A K Q 8 K 6 2 K Q 2 K 7 3