Join Bridge Winners
Monaco vs. USA2
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The Monaco-USA2 match was one of the most exciting 16-board matches I have ever seen. A total of 115 IMPs exchanged hands. See how you would have done on some of the critical decisions.

E-W vul, South deals. As West, you hold:

West
Q754
KQJ
76
AK102
W
N
E
S
3
X
5
P
P
X
P
P
P

Your lead?

West
Q754
KQJ
76
AK102
North
J63
A97
QJ
Q963
East
AK982
10852
532
75
South
10
643
AK10984
J84
W
N
E
S
3
X
5
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0

West led a trump, getting only 500 vs. 620 at the other table. On a high club lead the defense can get 800 if North is up to underleading his AK of spades after ruffing the third round of clubs, so South can lead another club and kill dummy's club discard.

 

Both vul, East deals. As North, you hold:

North
K86
9
AKQ9832
AJ
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4NT
P
5
P
?

Your call?

North
K86
9
AKQ9832
AJ
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
6
?

Let's say you try 6. Partner bids 6. Now what?

West
Q9
10873
J10
10543
North
K86
9
AKQ9832
AJ
East
74
KJ65
654
Q9872
South
AJ10532
AQ42
7
K6
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4N
P
5
P
6
P
6
P
?
D

North chose to pass.

As can be seen, 7 depends solely on the spade pickup. 7 needs a 3-2 diamond split, along with another trick from spades or hearts. 7NT by South is best, as this has the same chances as 7 plus can survive a bad diamond split if spades and hearts behave.

At the other table, 7 was reached. The best opening lead of a heart was found, eliminating one of declarer's options.Had declarer chosen to play East for the potentially long spades he might have gone wrong, judging the king of hearts to be with West. However, he chose to play as a squeeze, making when the spades were 2-2 or the player with the king of hearts had 3 spades.

 

N-S vul, South deals. As South, you hold:

South
AQ106
A1085
AQJ86
W
N
E
S
1
1
2
3
?

2: Both majors, 7-10 points

Do you drive this hand to 6?

 

North
AQ95
98732
9752
South
AQ106
A1085
AQJ86
W
N
E
S
1
1
2
3
6
P
P
P

South jumped to 6. West led the 2 of diamonds. How do you plan the play?

 

West
10743
K
KJ932
K104
North
AQ95
98732
9752
East
KJ862
J54
Q764
3
South
AQ106
A1085
AQJ86
W
N
E
S
1
1
2
3
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

I think the best line of play is to take an immediate club finesse. If it wins, then the safety play of the ace of hearts is available. This line loses only when Kxx of clubs is offside and the hearts could be picked up. At the table, declarer took the heart finesse and subsequently went down 2. Nothing works except the double-dummy ace of hearts play. At the other table, N-S stopped in game.

 

Both vul, North deals. As East, you hold:

East
KQ1076
A7652
985
W
N
E
S
P
2
4
5
5
X
P
P
P

2: Hearts and a minor.

Partner leads the 8 of diamonds.

North
QJ87
85
K1043
Q107
East
KQ1076
A7652
985
W
N
E
S
P
2
4
5
5
X
P
P
P

Low from dummy, you win the ace, and declarer plays the jack. What do you return?

 

West
1065
AJ942
Q98
A3
North
QJ87
85
K1043
Q107
East
KQ1076
A7652
985
South
AK9432
3
J
KJ642
W
N
E
S
P
2
4
5
5
X
P
P
P
D
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0

It looks reasonable to try to give partner a couple of diamond ruffs and collect a number, since 4 appears to be making. That is what East tried, obviously not a success. West's opening lead might be questioned, but it is easy to see how it could have been the winning lead.

Both vul, South deals. As East, you hold:

East
10863
Q95432
8
94
W
N
E
S
1NT
3
3
P
4
X
P
?

3: 5+ spades, game forcing

Your call?

 

West
AK7
AJ109632
875
North
QJ754
J
K75
K1063
East
10863
Q95432
8
94
South
AK92
1086
Q4
AQJ2
W
N
E
S
1NT
3
3
P
4
X
P
?
D

There was no winning action. 4 doubled makes for -790, and 5 doubled goes for 800. At one table 4 doubled was pass, at the other table 5 was bid. An unusual push.

 

None vul, South deals. As South, you hold:

South
AQJ862
42
KQ932
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
?

Your call?

 

West
10962
K104
Q
J10876
North
AJ743
75
KJ10865
East
KQ85
93
A973
A54
South
AQJ862
42
KQ932
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
?
D

Passing 2 is the winning action. South bid 3, got raised to 4, and was fortunate to get out for down 1. At the other table, N-S found a way to stop in 2.

 

N-S vul, West deals. As South, you hold:

South
K
Q109864
83
KQ92
W
N
E
S
3
X
5
5
P
6
P
?

Your call?

West
10962
7
KQJ1076
65
North
A853
AKJ52
A
AJ4
East
QJ74
3
9542
10873
South
K
Q109864
83
KQ92
W
N
E
S
3
X
5
5
P
6
P
?
D

You need to trust that partner has all the keycards to bid the grand, but when you hold both black kings and the queen of hearts is it possible that partner can be making a grand try without all the keycards? On this identical auction, one South bid the grand and the other didn't.

 

Both vul, East deals. As West, you hold:

West
75
642
Q8
A85432
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
1
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

You lead the 4 of clubs.

West
75
642
Q8
A85432
North
AK8
AJ1075
AK1054
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
1
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

Heart discard, and partner's 9 of clubs loses to declarer's queen. Declarer plays AK and a diamond, partner winning the third diamond as declarer follows and you discard a heart. Partner plays jack of clubs to king and ace, another heart discard from dummy. What do you play?

 

West
75
642
Q8
A85432
North
AK8
AJ1075
AK1054
East
Q932
KQ3
J62
J109
South
J1064
98
973
KQ76
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
1
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

At the table, West continued clubs. East won, and led the queen of hearts. Declarer won, ran the diamonds, and East was squeeze-endplayed. West had to shift to a heart. At the other table, declarer played diamond to ace and a small diamond. West won, and led a heart which defeated the contract.

None vul, East deals. As South, you hold:

South
AQJ82
K84
1097
AQ
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
5NT
P
6
P
P
P

1: Could be 2

1: 4+ hearts

1NT: 17-19 balanced

2: GF checkback

West leads the 4 of spades

North
K93
A10975
AK
954
South
AQJ82
K84
1097
AQ
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
5NT
P
6
P
P
P

Plan the play

 

West
4
QJ63
Q8632
KJ7
North
K93
A10975
AK
954
East
10765
2
J54
108632
South
AQJ82
K84
1097
AQ
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
1
P
1N
P
2
P
2
P
5N
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The correct play in the heart suit is to run the 10. This loses to stiff queen or jack in the West hand, but picks up every other heart holding. South was worried about a spade ruff, so took two top hearts and went down.

At the other table, the inferior 6 contract was reached from the North side. East misguessed and led a diamond. Declarer took the technically correct play in the trump suit of passing the 10 of hearts first, and later picking up the suit.

 

N-S vul, South deals. As East, you hold:

East
865
K7653
AQ654
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
3
4
P
4NT
P
6
?

1: Could be short

2: Diamonds

4: RKC for diamonds

Your call?

 

West
10972
QJ82
J76
107
North
AJ4
A4
AQ109854
2
East
865
K7653
AQ654
South
KQ3
109
K32
KJ983
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
3
4
P
4NT
P
6
?
D

It is tempting to double to keep partner off the heart lead and probably get a club lead. East did double and West did lead a club, but it turns out that the heart lead is the winner. At the other table, N-S stopped in 3NT.

 

N-S vul, South deals. As West, you hold:

West
J73
932
AQ84
A98
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

1:  Could be short

Your lead?

West
J73
932
AQ84
A98
North
AKQ654
KJ7
106
Q4
East
108
Q85
KJ9532
75
South
92
A1064
7
KJ10632
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

West led the ace of diamonds, a big winner. The more sensible 5 contract was reached at the other table.

 

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