Bridge Hand Of The Week

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May 21, 2018
Dlr: South Vul: Both
12 21
10 6 Q 9 7 4 A Q 5 A 8 5 3

A K J 9 3 A K J 2 2 K Q 2
West Pass Pass Pass All Pass
North 2(1)4(2)5(4)
East Pass Pass Pass
South124NT (3) 6

(1) Artificial game force

(2) Minimum balanced game-force with four-card heart support

(3) Roman Key Card Blackwood

(4) Two key cards with the Q

West leads the 10 against your slam. What is your plan for taking 12 tricks?


This deal is from a team match. The lead was the same at both tables. Both declarers saw that there would be no problem if the trumps were 3-2. If they were 4-1, a diamond might need to be ruffed in the closed hand. Accordingly, the play to the first three tricks was identical: A followed by the A and K. The 4-1 break presented each declarer with the problem of when and how to tackle the spade suit.

The first declarer led a low club to the ace at trick four and then ran the 10 to Wests queen.

West judged that declarer would have bid and played differently with a doubleton diamond, so he exited with a club. When East ruffed, the contract was defeated.

The declarer at the second table deduced that he could not make his contract if West held five spades headed by the queen. To avoid the embarrassment of losing a trick to a club ruff if West had the Q and five clubs, declarer played the 3 from hand; West rose with the Q and continued with a diamond. Declarer ruffed with the 2, cashed the J, crossed to dummy with the A and drew Easts last trump with dummys queen. Declarer could then claim with the five black-suit winners in his hand. Equally, declarer could have crossed to dummy with the 10 to draw the last trump: West would surely have given East a spade ruff if one had been available. Furthermore, East would surely have made a Lightner Double with a club void. It looked as if either play was safe enough. The full deal:

12 3 4 21
10 6 Q 9 7 4 A Q 5 A 8 5 3
Q 8 4 2 5 10 9 8 J 9 7 6 4
7 5 10 8 6 3 K J 7 6 4 3 10

A K J 9 3 A K J 2 2 K Q 2