The Real Deal


www.larryco.combridgecruises_lessons@larryco.com

Good, but not good enough

This Real Deal is slightly modified from one reported in the International Bridge Press Association Bulletin.

South opens 2NT with:

♠ A J 5 4  A Q 2  K 8   ♣ A K 4 3

North transfers to hearts and then bids 3NT. On the way to 4, South should make a careful bid of 4♣, showing a great hand in context for hearts and a control in clubs. Most days, North will just sign off in 4. Here, North control-bids 4 and South carries on to 6. The J is led:

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

Looking at the losers from the long-trump hand (North), declarer can see a potential club loser and a spade loser. The odds-on approach is to work on clubs to throw the spade loser from dummy – a much better proposition than relying on the spade suit to throw a club.

Declarer won the diamond lead with the king and drew trump (West starting with four). How should he tackle clubs?

Rather than relying on a 3–3 break, the percentages favor finessing twice against the ♣Q–J. North’s ♣10 rode around to West’s ♣Q and back came a low spade. Declarer captured East’s king with the ace and went to dummy in diamonds to leave:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ 6
K
A
♣ 9 8
South
♠ J 5
♣ A K 4

Dummy’s ♣9 was led and declarer got good news and bad news. The finesse was on, but East covered the 9 with the jack and the suit was blocked. Here is the full deal:

Dlr:
North
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ 8 6
K J 10 9 6
A Q 2
♣ 10 9 8
West
♠ Q 10 7 2
8 5 4 3
J 10 9
♣ Q 2
East
♠ K 9 3
7
7 6 5 4 3
♣ J 7 6 5
South
♠ J 5
♣ A K 4

Declarer needed to foresee the club blockage. Believe it or not, he has to preserve entries to the 21-HCP hand! He should win the first trick in dummy (with, say, the A) and pass the ♣10 to West.

Now it is smooth sailing. Declarer wins the spade return with the ace and draws trump ending in dummy. He leads the ♣9, and East can’t ruin the day. If he covers, declarer can win, cross to the ♣8 and come to the preserved K for the good club, throwing dummy’s spade.

After winning the first trick in hand with the K, there is no legitimate way to make the contract.