Bridge Hand Of The Week

Think it over

Nov 13, 2017
Dlr: South Vul: E-W
7 21
K 10 9 7 10 9 3 A 10 9 2 6 4

A Q J 8 A Q J 7 2 A K 5 2
West 2Pass Pass All Pass
North 234
East Pass Pass Pass

You have reached a good contract, against which West leads the K. Plan the play.


Declarer saw that if trumps were 3-2, he would make 12 tricks in a canter. Not willing to place all his eggs in one basket, declarer turned his mind to protecting against a 4-1 trump break.

West was likely to have the K, so declarer saw that he would need to keep the A as protection against further diamond leads. With that in mind, before he played low from dummy at trick one and ruffed with the 8, declarer was struck by the thought: What can be done if West has only one trump and four hearts to the king?

Declarer came up with the winning, no-guess solution to making the contract on the above layout. He ruffed the opening lead with the Q, led the 8 to dummys 10 and ruffed a second diamond with the A. Next, he overtook the J with the king and drew Easts remaining trumps with dummys 10 and 7, throwing two low clubs from hand. Finally, he ran the 10, which held. The 9 came next. West could do no better than win with the king and return a heart. As declarer had had foresight to ruff two diamonds, his hand was high: He had the three top hearts and the top two clubs remaining. Notice that if declarer had failed to ruff two low diamonds in hand, he could have made 12 tricks on the above layout only by guessing Wests distribution accurately. Declarer would have had to avoid the possibility of West taking the king of hearts on the second or third round of the suit and endplaying the South hand with a club or a heart, leaving declarer with a club loser. Ruffing two diamonds in the South hand took all the guesswork out of the equation. The full deal:

7 11 1 21
K 10 9 7 10 9 3 A 10 9 2 6 4
4 K 8 6 4 K Q J 8 5 4 Q 9
6 5 3 2 5 7 6 3 J 10 8 7 3

A Q J 8 A Q J 7 2 A K 5 2