Bridge Hand Of The Week

Contingency planning

Sep 04, 2017
Dlr: East Vul: N-S
9 13
K Q 3 A 4 10 9 4 2 9 8 6 2

A J 10 9 6 4 2 K 8 6 Q 8 K
West All Pass

Against your 4 contract, West leads the 2, clearly a singleton. What is your plan for taking 10 tricks?


Declarer counted nine winners and saw that a 10th would come from a heart ruff if trumps were 2-1. If the trumps were 3-0, he would have to develop a trick in diamonds to make the contract. That would necessitate having the A as a late entry to a potential diamond winner.

With that in mind, declarer played low from dummy at trick one and took Easts 9 with his king and led a potentially entry-preserving trump to dummys queen.

After East discarded a heart, on the first trump, declarer led a low diamond to his 8 and Wests king. West exited with a trump and declarer played low from dummy to win the trick in hand with his 8. Next he played the Q. West took this with the A and cashed the A, playing declarer for having started with 7=3=2=1 shape.

Declarer ruffed the club continuation and drew the last trump with dummys king. He led 10, East following with the 7. Declarer stuck with his original plan and threw the 8 from hand. When the 10 held, he claimed the rest of the tricks to make his contract.

Of note is that if Wests third diamond had been the jack instead of the 3, it would have been good defense to win the first diamond with the king. Otherwise, declarer would have had no option but to play West for the A-K-J alone in diamonds. The full deal:

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

A J 10 9 6 4 2 K 8 6 Q 8 K

Note that on this layout, the contract will fail if declarers first play in trumps is the ace. West will exit with a trump after winning a diamond trick, leaving declarer an entry short to make and cash a diamond trick.