Bridge Hand Of The Week

Protection

Aug 21, 2017
Dlr: South Vul: E-W
8 18
Q J 3 J 9 3 Q 6 4 Q 10 7 2

A K 9 6 5 8 5 A K J 3 K 8
West 2All Pass
North 2
East Pass
South14*S

West begins with the top three hearts, East following. You ruff the third heart and play a spade to dummys queen. When you play the J, East discards a low diamond. Now what?

Solution

If the trumps had been 3-2, declarer would have drawn trumps and conceded a club to the ace. As it was, the 4-1 break was a minor annoyance because declarer had to develop a plan to overcome it.

Clearly, West was marked with the A. If East held that card, surely he would have raised hearts. Declarer knew, therefore, that he could not draw trumps and play on clubs because West would win the ace and cash a heart. That would be four tricks for the defenders.

The only hope was to develop a club trick while dummys remaining trump provided protection against another round of hearts. Declarer therefore played dummys Q next. West took the trick with the A and led a fourth heart, but declarer ruffed in dummy and discarded the 3 from hand.

Declarer then crossed to hand with the K, drew trumps and had 10 tricks: five trumps, a heart ruff in dummy, three diamonds and a club. The full deal:

8 14 0 18
Q J 3 J 9 3 Q 6 4 Q 10 7 2
10 8 4 2 A K Q 10 6 9 A J 4
7 7 4 2 10 8 7 5 2 9 6 5 3

A K 9 6 5 8 5 A K J 3 K 8