Everyone made the impossible contract!

 

My hand this week was Board 14 at Wells on Tuesday.

 

                                                S AQT6

                                                H A9

                                                D KQ3

                                                C J984

 

S 94                                                                                       S 52

H J53                                                                                     H Q8764

D JT974                                                                                D A6

C QT6                                                                                    C AK32

           

                                                S KJ873

                                                H KT2

                                                D 852

                                                C 75

East was the dealer with no ne vulnerable.

 

The bidding at our table was:

 

East               South                        West              North

1H                  1S1                  Pass               3H2

Pass               3S3                  Pass               4S4 End

 

1     Automatic overcall – remember that you donŐt need opening values to overcall.

2     A good raise of spades. A direct jump to 3S would be pre-emptive.

3     Hold on partner, I am minimum here.

4     What the heck!

 

Six of the seven pairs who played this board played in some sort of spade contract by South. How North got to play the other one is a mystery that may never be solved.  What is a real mystery however is how all seven declarers managed to make 10 tricks.

 

I assume that most defenders would spend little time in selecting the jack of diamonds as their opening lead. This will be covered by the Queen and Ace so East is now on lead at the crucial time. As long as he returns a diamond then South has no chance as there is a second diamond loser established with nowhere to park it before the defence get in with their clubs.

 

However look what happens if East decides to cash his two top clubs before leading the diamond back. Declarer wins in dummy, draws trumps and ruffs a club, dropping the Queen, and setting up the Jack of clubs for a diamond discard. ItŐs just the same if East leads a third club after the Ace and King.

 

The defence has to realise the need to set up a diamond trick before taking their clubs. It shouldnŐt be too hard as it is clear that West holds the 10 and probably the 9 of diamonds following his lead of the Jack and if West has 5 diamonds then South has 3. Also the clubs are not going to run away – they can wait.

 

I was lucky – I got a heart lead which made it easy to sort out the clubs while I still had a diamond stop. Incidentally try to avoid leading from Jxx – it nearly always costs.

 

No South should have made this contract but all 7 made 10 tricks! Defence really is the hardest aspect of bridge.