Bridge Hand Of The Week

Take your best shot

Jul 16, 2018
Dlr: South Vul: Both
5 18
K J 10 8 4 J 7 4 9 8 5 4 3

A Q 9 7 5 A 5 4 2 A 10 9 A
West Pass All Pass
North 4
East Pass
South16

Against your ambitious slam, West leads a low trump, East discarding. Do you see a way to 12 tricks?

Solution

On the trump lead, declarer won the trick cheaply in hand. He could count eight top tricks. However, as there were not enough entries to set up clubs and enjoy the established winner, declarer saw that he needed to ruff four cards in dummy to make his contract. That made West the danger hand because he could lead a second trump to scupper the contract.

One potential winning position was when East started with the K and Q. The contract would then make unless there was a distributional nightmare in the side suits. However,as the chance of that occurring was well below even money, declarer decided to try his luck in diamonds first.

At trick two he cashed the A and continued with a tricky 9, intending to throw a heart from dummy if West followed low. When West played the Q, declarer had to ruff in dummy. After cashing the A and A, declarer led the 10. West had to follow with a low card and declarer discarded dummys J. East took the trick with the J but declarer had the last seven tricks on a high cross-ruff.

If West had covered the 10, declarer would ruff and hope for the best in hearts.

Essentially, declarer would have made his contract most of the time that East had at least two diamond honors or the K and Q, which totals to about 70% of the time, assuming that West would have led a diamond if hed held the K-Q-J. The full deal:

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

A Q 9 7 5 A 5 4 2 A 10 9 A