Saturday, 15 February 2014

At least we didn't redouble - Deal of the Week #16

Here's a bonus Deal of the Week from lunch time bridge, as requested by the defenders who bested me in 6♦x. I could have made it too.

Board 2
Dealer East
Love All
♠ Q
♥ x x x x x
♦ K T 4
♣ A K Q T
♠ x x x
♥ K J x x x
♣ J x x x x
♠ x x x
♥ Q x
♦ J 9 8 6 5
♣ x x x x
♠ A K J 9 8 x
♥ A
♦ A Q 7 3 2
♣ x

I've got the tremendous South hand. It's worth a 2♣ opening, as if partner has as little as the ♦K I can make a game and maybe even a slam. However, I decided that since it was a 2-suiter and distributional I'd start with 1♠, and hope it doesn't get passed out. AP sitting North replied 2♥, which in the local system just shows Hearts and 6+ points. I then rebid 3♦, and North bid 3NT. This is his only possible bid really, there's no way to get across his strength. I wasn't done yet and bid 4♠. To me this is a slam try, as I wouldn't remove partner's 3NT unless I was going for slam. I think AP took it just as looking for a better contract though, and corrected me to 5♦. I topped myself up to 6♦. JW sitting East thought for a while then doubled it.

NC sitting West lead a Club. Looking at dummy, things look very good indeed. In fact, assuming Spades split 4-2 or better, we've 13 top tricks (6 Spades, 1 Heart, 3 Diamonds and 3 Clubs) so could easily have made 7NT. The only thing that can go wrong in 6♦ is the trump suit. I figured for his double East must have trumps, either four or five of them. I therefore won the first Club in dummy and lead a trump up towards my hand. Cool as a cucumber, East played the ♦5. I can make things easy for myself here by playing the ♦7, but instead I foolishly played the ♦Q, and West showed out.

Having blown my ♦Q it looks like East is now booked to get two trump tricks. But my hope is to endplay him. If I can win all the tricks until he just has trumps left, and then let him win a trump, he'll have to lead away from his Diamonds which will cost him a trick. I'm looking to set up a situation like this, with three cards left and the lead in dummy. Note that East only has trumps left.

♠- ♥- ♦KT ♣T
♠- ♥- ♦J98 ♣-
♠9 ♥- ♦72 ♣-

If I just draw trumps then of course East gets two tricks. But if I play my ♣T then he is forced to ruff, and then lead away from his ♦J9 into dummy's ♦KT, and I'll only lose one trick and make 6♦x.

To get this to work I have to make sure East only wins a trick when he has just Diamonds left. This means guessing what his exact distribution is. Otherwise when he ruffs he can safely exit in another suit, then wait for his second trump trick. Unfortunately, this is what happened at the table. Because of the problem with entries I only managed to remove one Heart from the East hand, so when he came to ruff he still had a Heart. Again, the lead is in dummy, and I've not lost any tricks yet:

♠- ♥8 ♦KT ♣T
♠- ♥ Q ♦J98 ♣-
♠98 ♥- ♦72 ♣-

After I lead the ♣T from dummy JW ruffed it. He then safely exited with his ♥Q and got his ♦J later.

The defence celebrated wildly as I was left to rue another missed opportunity. "That's the kind of deal that can ruin your whole weekend" said JW.


  1. Not sure I like the idea of doubling 6♦ - you're basically begging for the opps to pull to another making spot (in this case, even 7NT would do...). Although I guess when NS know so little about each other's hands, that's difficult.

    Also, doesn't East just guarantee himself 2 trump tricks by splitting? You'll eventually end up with 7x over the 96, but you won't be able to play towards them (unless you can arrange to win all the rest of the tricks ending in dummy). Giving you the chance to finesse the 7 is a definite mistake.

    As you already pointed out, not finessing the 7 is also a definite mistake, as when you do so you are 100% to play the trump suit for 1 loser. (if the 7 loses, trumps were 4-1, if it wins, you still have the top 3 trumps). Not sure if this counts as a Grosvenor...

  2. I had a chance for glory and threw it away. But if I finesse the 7 and it loses to the singleton 8 or 9, don't I end up with two trump losers?

  3. Oops I've made the same mistake I did at the table, if trumps are 4-1 then after one round East will only have three left, so I can draw them!