Bridge Hand Of The Week

Spot the danger

May 14, 2018
Dlr: Sout Vul: Both
6 20
Q 10 5 3 7 4 A 10 7 6 4 9 4

K 4 2 A K 3 Q J 8 2 A K 6
West Pass Pass
North 33NT
East Pass All Pass
South2NT (1) 3

(1) 20-22

West leads the 5 against your notrump game. East plays the 10. What is your plan for taking nine tricks?


This deal was played in a teams match with identical, simple-Stayman auctions at each table. Both West players led a fourth-highest 5. At the first table, declarer ducked Easts 10.

On the bidding and play to the first trick, East placed West with the Q and consequently saw that there was no future in continuing hearts. Instead, he shifted to the Q.

Declarer won in hand with the K and played a spade to the queen. East won with the ace and continued with the J to declarers ace. Next, declarer ran the Q. East won the Q and cashed two club tricks to defeat the contract.

At the other table, declarer saw the danger of a club shift if he allowed East to hold the first trick, so he took the 10 with his king. At trick two, he led the K. East could do no better than to win the trick with the ace and continue with the J, hoping that his partner had a six-card suit.

When declarer played low on the J, West overtook with the Q to shift to a spade. He knew from the auction that his partner had at least four spades.

Declarer rose with dummys Q to limit the defense to at most two tricks in the suit, crossed to hand with the K and ran the Q diamonds to Easts king. East saw that cashing the J would give declarer an overtrick, so he exited with the Q. Declarer took this with the ace and claimed his contract: he had made one spade, two hearts, four diamonds and two clubs. The full deal:

6 2 12 20
Q 10 5 3 7 4 A 10 7 6 4 9 4
8 6 Q 9 8 5 2 5 3 7 5 3 2
A J 9 7 J 10 6 K 9 Q J 10 8

K 4 2 A K 3 Q J 8 2 A K 6