Take Your Time

Dlr: North ♠ K Q 10 8 3
Vul: Both J 9 2
K Q 6 2
♣ 6
♠ A
Q 8 7 6 3
A 9 8
♣ K 8 7 2
West North East South
1♠ Pass 2
Pass 2♠ Pass 3NT
Pass 4 All Pass

Here is one last deal from the 43rd World Bridge Team Championships in Lyon, France, in 2017. Put yourself in the South seat and plan the play in 4 after West leads the 7.

At one table where this deal occurred in Round 19, declarer played low from dummy and took East’s 10 with the ace. At trick two, declarer led a low trump. West rose with the A and exited with the 5. East won the trick with the king and got off play with the 10 to declarer’s queen. Declarer cashed the ♠A at trick five then crossed to the dummy with a diamond to the king (West threw a club). Next he played the ♠K and ♠Q, throwing two clubs from hand. As the spades did not break, declarer played dummy’s club to his king. West took the ♣A and ♣Q to set the contract. Can you do better?

Solution

There was no hurry to cash the ♠Q. Instead, declarer needed to find out how the spades were breaking without releasing that card. After cashing the ♠K, declarer should have ruffed the ♠8. This would have revealed that West had begun with 5=2=1=5 shape, making it 5-to-3 that the ♣A was on declarer’s left. Declarer should then have played with the odds and cashed his remaining trump, discarding the 6 from dummy and reducing everyone to four cards. West would have had to keep two spades and the ♣A Q.

Declarer plays the 9 to dummy’s queen and West has to throw a club, probably a fatalistic queen. A club to the king and ace would then have left West on play with the ♠J 9 alone. Declarer would have won the last two tricks with dummy’s ♠Q 10. The full deal:

Dlr: North ♠ K Q 10 8 3
Vul: Both J 9 2
K Q 6 2
♣ 6
♠ J 9 7 4 2 ♠ 6 5
A 5 K 10 4
7 J 10 5 4 3
♣ A Q 10 5 4 ♣ J 9 3
♠ A
Q 8 7 6 3
A 9 8
♣ K 8 7 2

 

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