Join Bridge Winners
Interesting play in 3
(Page of 4)

On this deal from the French Club Championship final (swiss team) my opponent failed to find the winning line in this challenging 3 contract.

North
1054
1087
9843
A63
South
K73
A532
AKJ102
4
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
P
P
2
P
P
2
P
P
3
P
P
P

 

West leads the K, 7, 4, 2 and follows with the 9 to dummy's 10 and East's Jack.

Plan the play.

North
1054
1087
9843
A63
South
K73
A532
AKJ102
4
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
P
P
2
P
P
2
P
P
3
P
P
P

Even with diamonds evenly divided, you are still short by one trick unless the heart break is friendly too (you will be able to discard a spade on the fourth heart then ruff a spade looser in dummy). But in this case you can't really go down and I wouldn't be polling this board.

On the hypothesis that either or won't be breaking kindly, you need to develop another trick in a suit that must be spade (if you can develop a club trick, then you're way too strong to keep on reading this article).

How should the spades break then?

From the bidding we can expect the spades to break 5-2 ; and probably clubs to break 4-5 (if East holds 6+ of them then he might have advanced 2). Moreover for his balance, we can place East with Hx (else, why would he risk a 2 bid on two low cards?) and his highest honor must be a quack. With QJxxx, Qxxxx or Jxxxx West would probably lead a spade.

A possible hand for East-West should look like this :

AHxxx Kx(?) ?(?) xxxx

Hx 9x(??) ??(?) xxxxx

If the spade suit lays this way, then it is frozen and neither West nor East can open it without presenting you with a trick.

 

How do you tackle the trumps then ?

North
1054
1087
9843
A63
South
K73
A532
AKJ102
4
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
P
P
2
P
P
2
P
P
3
P
P
P

To extract a spade trick you need to reach an end-play position (The Great Dealer didn't give North the 10 for free) with only trumps and spades remaining. And in order to get there you pretty much need a 2-2 diamond break as you will have to ruff 2 club in hand and one heart in dummy (NB : from the early bidding & play we can be pretty confident than West's shape is 5224 anyway).

Once achieved a such position, an exit with the King from hand (equally good would be a spade toward the King) will block defender's suit and force them to either allow you to score naturally a spade trick (if they try an unblock) or to present you with a ruff and sluff (if they don't).

So you cash your AK and the suit effectively breaks 2-2 (West holding Qx). What next ?

North
1054
1087
9843
A63
South
K73
A532
AKJ102
4
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
P
P
2
P
P
2
P
P
3
P
P
P

All you as to do from here is to eliminate the pointed suits before exiting with a . But there is a last pitfall on this deal : if you carelessly start with a third round of heart (they break 42), defense will insist with a fourth round and prematurely force dummy to ruff, depriving you of a late entry to dummy which is needed to ruff out the clubs.

So all you need to do after cashing trumps is to first unblock the club suit : club to the Ace followed by a club ruff and, only then, concede a heart trick to the defense which is now totally powerless.

The full deal :

West
AJ962
K9
Q7
K1085
North
1054
1087
9843
A63
East
Q8
QJ64
65
QJ972
South
K73
A532
AKJ102
4
D

A pretty cool way not to go down in a partial contract.

4 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top