<< A Simple Example Bad Fit Deals Blockage >>

Trump Madness

N-S Vul
7
Q 6 4 3
K 2
A K Q J 3 2
9 6 3
K 10 9 8 5
J 8 7 4
6
 
J 10 8 5 2
A 2
A Q
10 9 8 5
A K Q 4
J 7
10 9 6 5 3
7 4
If North declares 3 NT, there is no way to set him - the defense can only take four red-suit tricks. [If South was declarer, the defense could take a third diamond trick, holding him to eight tricks.]
So that seems to be it for the defense. 4 is a lousy sacrifice; the defense takes the first first three spades, followed by four clubs (South pitching two hearts,) and then a heart ruff.
4 can make six tricks, but again that's not good enough. The defense starts with a diamond lead, and the finesse is taken. The diamond ace is taken, followed by the A-K and the 10 North wins, and the defense takes their three spade tricks, North pitching clubs. Finally, South leads a high diamond at this position:
6
A K Q J
10 9
J 8
6
 
J 10
10 9 8
4
10 9 6
7
West can't get more than his two trump tricks, for a total of six tricks.
But East/West got one trick for playing in their seven-card fit rather than the eight-card fit, so perhaps the six-card fit will be worth yet another trick?
Indeed, the only good sacrifice on this deal is 4 . What can North/South do? Suppose they lead a diamond. Declarer wins, and exits a club. Another diamond, won again in the East hand. Declarer ruffs a club, plays the ace and king of hearts, cashes the the diamond jack, reaching this position:
7
Q 6
K Q J 3
9 6 3
10 9 2
 
J 10 8 5 2
A K Q 4
10 9
Declarer exits with the 9, and South can take his diamonds but eventually must give up a trick to the spade suit. South sneaks by with seven tricks for -500.
North/South can avoid this endplay by playing off four rounds spades at the outset. On the fourth round, West pitches a heart, and North ruffs and exits the diamond king.
Declarer wins and leads a top club, and North wins, but has no more trumps. Say North exits a heart. East wins, leads a club, ruffed, followed by the K and a heart ruffed (with the queen, and South must underruff!) Finally another club is led from East at this position:
Q
K Q
9
J 8
 
J
10 9
10 9 6
If South ruffs with the ten or nine, West's heart is pitched. If South ruffs with the six, West overruffs. Either way, West scores both remaining trumps, yielding seven tricks total: two hearts, and five trumps.
What if the defense takes three spades then exits a diamond? Then declarer just plays a fourth spade, forcing North to ruff, and achieving the same position as before.
<< A Simple Example
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1999-2014.
Blockage >>
Article formatted with BridgeML.