Hand of the day #19

The Aces On Bridge by Bobby Wolff

England’s Nick Sandqvist shone in today’s deal from Reykjavik.

Opening Lead: ♠4

West led a fourth-highest spade four to three no-trump, to the 10 and king. Ace-fourth does not make for a particularly attractive lead, so Sandqvist placed West with five spades. In that case, he could not afford to lose the lead to East while he established dummy’s diamonds, which was surely the best plan of attack. What is more, West had not overcalled one spade at favorable vulnerability, which he might have done with the spade ace and diamond king. The former international thus took the avoidance play of crossing to the heart king (keeping the club finesse intact as a fallback option) and leading the diamond queen off dummy. This was covered by the king and ace, after which a second diamond lead set the suit up while keeping East off play.

Had the diamond queen lost to West’s king and the jack not dropped on the second round, declarer could still have fallen back on favorable layouts in the rounded suits. However, the defense might have (maybe should have?) succeeded even as it was. East must withhold the diamond king on the first round. Then declarer is an entry short to establish the diamonds. With the club queen offside, he would have to go down.

By contrast a far more common line was for declarer to play West for the diamond king. When South took the natural line of ace and another diamond to the queen, they eventually went four down.


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3 comments on “Hand of the day #19”

  1. On the actual layout, 3N makes by running the T of diamonds. It appears to be a superior play to the Q since the only presumed chance was to find East with Kx or K9.

    1. Yes, playing Q is a nonsence. If East started with KJ the contract cannot be made (can be made if the declarer plays another spade on trick 2, but that's just a theory). The declarer has to guess where the K is and play either A and x to the Q, or 10 from dummy.

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