Bridge Hand Of The Week

Your best chance

Jun 11, 2018
Dlr: South Vul: Both
7 17
8 3 3 2 8 7 6 5 3 A K 7 4

A K J 10 9 4 Q 6 4 A K 8 6
West Pass Pass
North 1NT 4
East Pass All Pass
South13

West leads the Q against your spade game. What is your plan for taking 10 tricks?

Solution

Declarer counted nine fairly sure winners five trumps and the four tops in the minors. A tenth could come if East had started with the queen of trumps, but that was at best a 50% chance, even if one discounted the possibility of minor-suit ruffs. Declarer decided that a better approach was to try to ruff a heart in dummy.

Obviously, leading a heart from hand would succeed only if West was forced to win on both heart leads an unlikely situation. If East could gain the lead twice much more likely he could lead trumps twice without sacrificing his sides trump trick in the event that West held the guarded queen.

Declarer had such a possibility in mind, so he crossed to dummy with a club to the king to lead a low heart. At the table, East rose with the ace and played a low trump. Declarer took this with the ace, crossed to dummy with another club to the ace to lead a second heart. This would have been a winning play if East had had both the A and K along with two low trumps. Instead, West took declarers Q with the king and could not profitably continue with a trump. Out of clubs, West led another diamond. With no diamond ruff available to the defense, declarer was able to win with his K and ruff his remaining heart with dummys 8. After ruffing a diamond back to hand with a middle trump, declarer cashed the K and conceded a trick Wests queen of trumps. Making four.

Notice that declarers approach would have succeeded any time there was no defensive ruff and trumps were 3-2. Had trumps been 4-1 with West, West could have continued with a second trump without cost. The full deal:

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

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