<< Give and Take Interesting Bridge Hands Counting It Out >>

Hope Springs Eternal

North Deals
Both Vul
A Q 8 3
Q 9 6 5 4
J 4
Q 5
K 5
J 10 3
A K Q 8 5
West North East South
Pass Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 3 NT
Pass 4 NT Pass 6 NT
All Pass

I am not sure I follow this auction to 6 NT, but it is obviously a less-than-perfect contract.
It would appear the only chance for a twelfth trick is if one defender has the J-10-9, allowing declarer to set up the 8.
Brian Storey (CDundee on okbridge) found a solution which took into account that the defense was not looking at his hand. He knew he had two heart losers, but the defense did not.
Brian got a neutral club lead, which he won in hand and imediately led a heart to the queen. West played low and East won the king. East chose to exit a low diamond, and declarer was able to make his slam. West had started with: 10-9-6-3 A-7-2 7-2 10-6-4-2. On the run of Brian's winners, West was squeezed in spades and hearts. The end position was:
A Q 8 2
10 9 6 3
J 7 4
K 5
J 10
On the last diamond, West had to keep the A, so he must pitch a spade, and Brian gets four spades.
In this case, the rather clumsy auction probably helped declarer - West can avoid the squeeze by flying the ace and exiting in any suit, but West was probably nervous that declarer might be leading low from K-x - playing the ace might give declarer a running heart suit.
From Brian's point of view, it was likely that the heart honors were split. West would certainly double and lead the suit if he held them both, and, since dummy's first bid suit was hearts, East could have doubled to request a heart lead. So the only real danger for Brian is that one of the opponents wins the heart and leads another heart. That's a difficult play to find in this instance.
<< Give and Take
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
Counting It Out >>
Article formatted with BridgeML.