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Hayling Island Bridge Club
Play Problem 008
Play Problem 008 - contributed by Graham Broadbent

A Defensive Problem

The following deal occured in last night's Teams match against Rowlands Castle Bridge Club (1 June 2010).

Both sides vulnerable and second hand, you (South), pick up the following cards:

 A Q 10 4
 A 10 7
 10 8
 J 7 6 2

Your right-hand opponent opens 1 Spade and you pass.  Left-hand opponent passes as well and partner overcalls 2 Diamonds, now opener passes;  your Bid?

Pass?

It's Teams, so we want to be in game, so I bid 3NT, which is passed out.

Now the searchlight turns onto East whose partner leads 6 and then these cards are laid down by dummy:

 K 3 2
 K
 Q J 7 5 3 2
 Q 10 4

The K wins trick one and declarer calls for the 2 from dummy.

You, as East, hold
 J 9 8 7 5
 8 2
 A 9
 A K 9 8         

How do you plan the defence?


The Answer

The full deal (hands rotated)
All Vulnerable
Opening lead 6

 K 3 2
 K
 Q J 7 5 3 2
 Q 10 4

 6                                                            J 9 8 7 5        
 Q J 9 6 5 4 3                                         8 2
 K 6 4                                                      A 9
 5 3                                                         A K 9 8

 A Q 10 4
 A 10 7
 10 8
 J 7 6 2



Declarer takes the King of Hearts on the table and plays a small diamond.  East must resist the temptation to insert the nine!  Go straight up with the Ace and return partner's Heart lead.  Declarer's best chance now is to abandon the Diamond suit and play on Clubs, but he can never come to more than eight tricks, four spades, two hearts and eventually two clubs.  Note that holding up the Diamond Ace gives declarer his ninth trick whatever West does.

This is not an easy play to find, but East must reason as follows: 

"There are only three hearts between my hand and Dummy and South passed initially before jumping to 3NT so my partner must have the Hearts.  However, partner also passed my opening bid, so can't have much.  I can see enough of the black suits to know that the only possible entry partner can have is in Diamonds, so I must protect it by going up with the Ace straight away and returning my last Heart through any tenace that Declarer may hold."

At our table both defenders ducked the first Diamond and when I continued with the eight, West thinking that I had started with A 10 8, has the misfortune to cash her King "while she had the chance! "  Her partner was forced to overtake with the Ace and now the heart return gives me eleven tricks. 

In the other room, North/South did not bid as aggressively and Helen and Philippa made 3 Hearts doubled with the East/West cards for our only big swing on what was otherwise a poor night for us.