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Some Luck Needed

Dlr:
South
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ A K
K 7 5 3 2
7 4 2
♣ K 8 4
South
♠ J 6 3
8 4
A K 6 3
♣ A J 6 3
West North East South
1
Pass 1 Pass 1NT
Pass 3NT All Pass

Against your normal 3NT contract, West starts with the ♠2. You have plenty of high-card points between the two hands. How will you use them to get to nine tricks?

Click for Solution

When dummy went down, declarer could count only six top tricks. He judged that he needed spades to be 4-4 and either a very favorable position in both minors or hearts 3-3 with the ace onside.

As the last condition seemed to require less, declarer took the lead with dummy’s ♠K and led a low heart away from the king at trick two. East won this with the jack and continued with a low spade. After winning this with dummy’s bare ace, declarer crossed to hand with a low diamond to his king to lead a heart up. West rose with the A and cashed the ♠Q, then played his last spade to his partner’s 10. Declarer threw a diamond and a low club from dummy on the spades while parting with a diamond from hand. After winning the fourth round of spades, East exited with a diamond, taken by declarer with the ace. Declarer then led a low club to dummy’s king and cashed the K. When both opponents followed, declarer had nine tricks: the six top winners and three hearts.

Note that if the K had revealed the suit to have been 4-2, declarer could still have made nine tricks if East had had the ♣Q and either the suit was 3-3 or there was a squeeze in hearts and clubs. The full deal:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ A K
K 7 5 3 2
7 4 2
♣ K 8 4
West
♠ Q 9 7 2
A 10 9
Q 10
♣ Q 10 9 2
East
♠ 10 8 5 4
Q J 6
J 9 8 5
♣ 7 5
South
♠ J 6 3
8 4
A K 6 3
♣ A J 6 3