Join Bridge Winners
Missed Opportunity
(Page of 4)

This is board 17 from the Common Game on April 28, 2019 (rotated). Most declarers didn't take full advantage of the lie of the cards. See if you can do better.

As dealer with nobody vulnerable, you have quite a nice hand. When partner makes a 2-over-1 response and then supports your heart suit, you take an optimistic view and bid the slam.

West
North
87
KQJ
AK63
10764
East
South
A5
A1065432
9
AQ5
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
1

Partner's 4 cue showed a first or second round control in diamonds but denied a club control. You bid 5NT to confirm all keycards and give partner the chance to bid 7 with a running diamond suit.

LHO leads the Q to trick one. Your thoughts?

West
North
87
KQJ
AK63
10764
East
South
A5
A1065432
9
AQ5
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
1

You have 11 tricks in the form of 1 spade, 7 hearts, 2 diamonds and 1 club. This is a 27 HCP slam, so you can be certain that not all pairs in the club will bid it. Going down is sure to score poorly, so you need to make this slam if at all possible. What chances do you have?

The most obvious chance is the club finesse. If the club finesse loses, you still might get lucky and drop a doubleton J, in which case your 10 will be good. Is there anything else?

West
North
87
KQJ
AK63
10764
East
South
A5
A1065432
9
AQ5
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
A
4
9
1
1
0
1

What most declarers overlooked is that even if the first two chances don't come through, you can still make the hand if clubs split 3-3. You'll need to use your diamond pitch to throw your third club. You just have to manage your entries so that you can ruff the third club and still return to to the board to enjoy the fourth (long) club.

How many trumps can you afford to draw before you take the club finesse? Best not to draw any at all. If you cash even one trump and then take a losing club finesse, LHO might be able to lead a second heart. Then you wouldn't be able to get back to dummy to both ruff the third club and cash the fourth. So take an immediate club finesse at trick 2. Fortunately it wins. RHO follows with the 3 and LHO the deuce. What now?

West
North
87
KQJ
AK63
10764
East
South
A5
A1065432
9
AQ5
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
A
4
9
1
1
0
4
3
Q
2
3
2
0
2

If you were convinced that nobody else in the room was going to bid the slam, you could draw trump now and take your winners. You would give up either a club or a spade at the end, making 6. But since at least a few other pairs are likely to bid the slam, you might as well take a slight risk for a chance at an overtrick.

What's the best play now? You can afford to cash one trump, guarding against LHO having singletons in both hearts and clubs.

When you lead a low trump to dummy, LHO shows out. So east holds the 9 8 7 in addition to the club king. Your only risk at this point is that he holds a singleton diamond and that the clubs don't split. In that case, he'll ruff your K and you won't have a place to park your eventual spade loser. Since you probably would have heard from LHO in the bidding if she held Q J 10 seventh along with a heart void, this seems like a small risk to take. So lead a club to your ace, return to dummy in trumps, pitch your third club on your second diamond winner, and ruff the third club. When the clubs split, you can claim 13 tricks.

West
KJ64
QJ10875
J92
North
87
KQJ
AK63
10764
East
Q10932
987
42
K83
South
A5
A1065432
9
AQ5
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
A
4
9
1
1
0
4
3
Q
2
3
2
0
2
5
J
7
1
3
0
6
8
A
9
3
4
0
3
7
Q
8
1
5
0
K
2
5
8
1
6
0
7
K
A
J
3
7
0
4
6
K
9
1
8
0
10
3
5
10
1
9
0
9

At my club, which admittedly isn't particularly strong on Sunday afternoons, 3 of the 12 pairs bid the baby heart slam. 2 pairs reached 5, and the remaining 7 pairs rested safely in 4. The three slam bidders and eight of the nine game bidders made 12 tricks. The remaining pair made only 11 tricks.

Participants across the Common Game did a little better. Approximately 25 of the 240 pairs in game made 13 tricks, while 10 of the 70 or so pairs in slam made the overtrick.

5 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top