Bridge Hand Of The Week

Playing the odds

Apr 30, 2018
Dlr: South Vul: N-S
17 14
A J 10 Q J 10 9 3 A K Q 10 9

8 A 6 J 10 9 7 4 A K Q 5 4
West 2(1)Pass Pass
North Dbl 46
East 3(2)Pass All Pass

(1) At least 5-5 in the majors

(2) Weak

West starts with the K against your slam. How do you plan to bring this contract home?


Declarer won with dummys A and cashed the A and K, noting that West followed suit to both.

Wests overcall had promised at least 5-5 in the majors, so West had at most one club. Declarer saw that there was no point in playing the A and another heart as that approach would succeed only if West had three trumps: Otherwise, West would play low on the second heart and let East ruff.

The issue facing declarer, therefore, was the identity of Wests third minor-suit card. One option was an immediate club finesse for the jack, but, declarer found a good way of minimizing the risk that West would win a finesse with the singleton J. He left the last trump outstanding and led the J from dummy, discarding a club on it. West won the Q and could have returned:

A A spade: Declarer would have discarded a heart, drawn the remaining trump and finessed clubs.

B A heart: Declarer would have won in dummy, discarded another club and drawn the trump.

C A club: Declarer would have won, led a trump to dummy and discarded a heart on the spade.

D A trump: Declarer would won in dummy, discarded a heart, and taken the then-safe club finesse.

Only when West returned a spade would declarer have needed to riskily run the 10. Even then, East was a 5-1 favorite to hold the J. The full deal:

17 8 1 14
A J 10 Q J 10 9 3 A K Q 10 9
K Q 6 5 2 K 8 5 4 2 8 6 8
9 7 4 3 7 5 3 2 J 7 6 3 2

8 A 6 J 10 9 7 4 A K Q 5 4