Bridge Hand Of The Week

Assessing the threat

May 01, 2017
Dlr: South Vul: Both
16 13
Q 9 2 8 6 3 2 A A K Q J 5

A K 10 8 5 A Q 7 7 4 3 10 7
West 2Pass Pass Pass
North 344NT 6
East 3Pass Pass All Pass
South1Pass 45

After the session was over, North said that he would have bid the grand slam if the auction had been uncontested. On the actual auction, he expected at least one of the black suits to break in an inconvenient manner. West leads the K. What is your plan for taking 12 tricks?

Solution

After winning the lead with dummys singleton A, declarer saw that as long as the trumps played without loss he would have 12 top tricks, with a 13th available from a diamond ruff. However, his job was to make 12 tricks as safely as possible rather 13 somewhat riskily.

The main roadblock to making his contract would be if West had four trumps headed by the jack. In that case, drawing trumps would leave declarer at least one trick shot.

After some thought, declarer found a way to neutralize that threat: He called for dummys 9 and ran it when East played low. West won it with the J and exited with a club, taken by declarer in hand with the 10. After ruffing a diamond with dummys Q, declarer then drew the outstanding trumps and claimed 12 tricks: he made four trumps, the red aces, a diamond ruff and five clubs.

16 11 0 13
Q 9 2 8 6 3 2 A A K Q J 5
J 7 6 3 K J K Q J 10 5 9 4
4 10 9 5 4 9 8 6 2 8 6 3 2

A K 10 8 5 A Q 7 7 4 3 10 7