Hand of the Week, Vol. 2 No. 25

This week's Hand of the Week is a declarer play problem faced by North at the Friday 18 September club championship. You deal at favorable vulnerability, and have a hand too good to open with a preempt in hearts. The posted auction is one of several reasonable possibilities:

Dealer North
EW vul
S 3
H A T 9 8 6 4 3
D A 6 4 2
S T 9 7 6 5
H K 7
D J 3
C 8 7 6 5
[table marker] S Q J 4 2
D K Q T 9
C J 3 2
S A K 8
H 5 2
D 8 7 5
C K Q T 9 4


East leads the SQ; what is your plan to take as many tricks as possible?

You will lose 1 or 2 heart tricks, depending how they break. Your goal is to lose as few diamonds as possible. Dummy has lots of black winners, but the opening lead has removed your only entry to the dummy.

Had the opening lead been a diamond, you would have won, cashed the CA to unblock, and then taken the SA, SK, CK, and CQ, discarding all three small diamonds from your hand, and then finally pulled the trumps, making six when the trumps break 2-2.

On a spade lead, it's no longer possible to make six. In order to make five, you must throw away the CA on the SK at trick two, so that you can cash the CKQ and pitch two of your diamonds. If you do anything else at trick two, you'll finish with only nine or ten tricks.

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This page last updated 22.09.09
©2009 Gordon Bower