Saturday, 21 September 2013

Deal of Last Week - Deal of the Week #6

The Joke of the Week was about a Cheese Factory, but unfortunately none of the bridge this week caught my eye enough to feature in the Blog. The closest was a hand where I coffee-housed NC into bidding an excellent 3NT. I then had to leave the room suddenly, just as the defence were cashing the first five Club tricks. I maintain it was a fine contract.

Luckily there's some unresolved business to write about from Last Week. A deal so big it has stretched over the weekend to become this week's featured deal. With North-South hundreds of points behind on Friday lunch-time, they needed some magic. It didn't happen the first hand, or the second, but then came this deal.

♠ A Q T x x
♥ x x
♦ A J x x x
♣ x
♠ -
♥ K Q x x x x
♦ T x x x
♣ A x x
♠ x
♥ J x x
♦ K Q x
♣ Q T 9 x x x
♠ K J x x x x x
♥ A x
♦ x
♣ K J x

There was no time for messing around. JW got dealt the hand below, and saw his chance to mix things up. He opened an immediate 4♠. NC sitting North then had a big decision. No one quite knew the score, but it looked like he needed at least a small slam. I advised him to bid "at least 6♠", and he wisely went for just 6♠. This was passed out.

West considered his lead. He was tempted by the ♣A. This would have been the right lead against 7♠, where you only need one trick. But against 6♠, you need two tricks. So the best lead is a high Heart. This will probably lose to the ♥A, but then you'll be poised to get your two tricks. So ID lead the ♥K, which was won by declarer in hand. The lead has worked - declarer now looks like he is facing a loser in Hearts and Clubs. The only way to avoid this tricks is if he can pull off some magic in the Diamond suit. And that's exactly what happened.

First, declarer drew trumps in one round. Then he won the ♦A, ruffed a Diamond (East had to play the ♦Q), crossed to dummy in trumps, ruffed another Diamond (East had to play the ♦K), then crossed to dummy again to take the now winning ♦J and discard the losing heart from hand. With dummy's winning fifth Diamond he discarded one of his Clubs, and still had two trumps in dummy to ruff two Club. So the only trick lost was one Club, for 6♠=.

It was lucky that one defender had ♦KQx, meaning the ♦J became a winner after three rounds. If that didn't happen, declarer would start to run out of trumps in dummy, and wouldn't have enough to both use as entries, and to ruff two Clubs. So to make the contract he'd have to lead up to his ♣KJx and guess which one to play (here the Jack). If he guesses right, he only needs to ruff one Club in dummy.

The safest way to play the contract is actually to start on Diamonds before drawing trumps. This looks like it carries a risk of the defence getting a ruff if Diamonds are 6-1 or 5-2, but actually if that's the case you're not going to make the contract anyway.

After declarer made 6♠= there was some frantic calculations as to the final score. In fact, this continued on to Monday, and I'm still not sure who won the week.

No comments:

Post a Comment