With Trumps or Without?

Dlr: West ♠ A 6 3
Vul: N-S K J 8 6
Q J 6 5
♣ 7 5
♠ 9 5 2 ♠ Q 7
7 3 A Q 10 5 2
8 4 10 9 7 3 2
♣ K Q J 10 9 2 ♣ 3
♠ K J 10 8 4
9 4
A K
♣ A 8 6 4
West North East South
3♣ Pass Pass 3NT
All Pass

This deal and the next three Hands of the Week come from the 43rd World Bridge Team Championships in Lyon, France, in 2017.

This was Board 18 from Round 16 in Lyon. At all of the tables broadcast, West opened with 3♣. At 63 of 66 tables, the final contract was 4♠. How would you play that contract after West leads the ♣K? Bonus: plan the play in 3NT, also with the ♣K lead from West.

Solution

If West leads the ♣K against that 4♠, declarer wins with the ace, plays a trump to the ace and a second trump, intending to finesse. Luckily, the ♠Q appears, so declarer takes this with the king and draws the last trump with the jack. Then, after cashing the A and K, declarer plays a low heart to the jack. East takes the trick with his queen and, as he is down to red-suit cards only, he gets off play with a diamond to avoid conceding an overtrick. Declarer makes 10 tricks – five trumps, four diamonds and the ♣A.

4♠ can be defeated if West leads a heart. Declarer plays dummy’s jack and East must take the Q and A before exiting with the ♣3. Declarer can do no better than cash the A and K, followed by the ♠K and ♠A so that he can play a good diamond. Alas, it is West who has the third trump and he ruffs in, then cashes a club winner for down one. If East plays a third heart instead of the club, declarer ruffs with the ♠10 as West discards a diamond. Declarer continues with the A and K.

West can do no better than ruff the latter and play the ♣K. Declarer wins with the ♣A and plays the ♠K and ♠A. This draws the outstanding trumps, so declarer throws his remaining clubs on dummy’s three red-suit winners. At three tables, South balanced with 3NT over 3♣ (two of them in the Australia- Netherlands Bermuda Bowl match). The play at the diagrammed table was routine: declarer ducked the ♣K, won the next club with the ace and cashed the A and K. He then took the standard avoidance play of passing the ♠J to East’s queen. East exited with a diamond and declarer had nine tricks: four spades, four diamonds and a club. The full deal:

Dlr: West ♠ A 6 3
Vul: N-S K J 8 6
Q J 6 5
♣ 7 5
♠ 9 5 2 ♠ Q 7
7 3 A Q 10 5 2
8 4 10 9 7 3 2
♣ K Q J 10 9 2 ♣ 3
♠ K J 10 8 4
9 4
A K
♣ A 8 6 4

 

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