Try this hand

For bridge hands of interest

Counting the key

This deal was submitted by leading player Ted Bourke, of Canberra .

Your left hand opponent, West, is vulnerable and opens a weak 2H and your partner, North, overcalls 2S.  East passes and you must decide what to do with this hand:

SOUTH
♠ J72
 K85
 AKQ7
 AK7

With 20 HCP and a reasonable fit for spades, you bid 4NT (which you play as ordinary Blackwood, not Keycard), and North answers 5D to show one ace. What should you call next?

A danger if you bid 6S is that East will be on lead and will lead a heart through your king, and it will be no surprise to find that the heart bidder, West, is sitting over you with the A-Q of hearts. To protect your king, you decide to bid 6NT. This has been the auction:

WEST  NORTH  EAST   SOUTH
2H    2S     Pass   4NT
Pass  5D     Pass   6NT
All pass

The DJ is led, and this is what you see: 

Dealer West, EW vul. Contract: 6NT by South. Lead: DJ. 

NORTH
♠ AKQ85
 T
 852
 QT93

SOUTH
♠ J72
 K85
 AKQ7
 AK7

How should you plan the play in 6NT?

Read more: Counting the key

An intra-esting finesse

Nowadays the most popular site for online bridge is BBO (Bridge Base Online), which offers free bridge any time you choose to log on. Today’s hand, submitted by Nick Hughes, was played on BBO.

Dealer South, Nil vul. Contract: 4H by South. Lead: DJ.

NORTH
 A852
 QT3
 854
 J83

SOUTH
 K93
 AKJ76
 AK7
 95

WEST  NORTH  EAST   SOUTH
                    1H       
Pass  2H     Pass   4H
All pass

A straightforward auction saw North-South reach a marginal game contract. West led the jack of diamonds. How do you plan the hand as declarer in 4H?

Read more: An intra-esting finesse

We shall overcome

On the deal below, 6S looked to be a sweet spot when dummy went down. A bad trump break gave the slam a sour taste but a sniff at the bidding made it palatable after all.

Dealer: West, both Vul. Contract: 6S by South. Lead: DK.

NORTH
♠  853
♥  AKQ92
  74
  A54

SOUTH
♠  AKQT4
♥  J8
  A93
  QJ3

WEST   NORTH  EAST   SOUTH
3D     3H     Pass   3S
Pass   4S     Pass   4NT
Pass   5H     Pass   6S
All pass

Against South’s 6S contract, West led the king of diamonds while East followed with the D2 (standard leads and signals). Declarer fancied the prospects of making 12 tricks: five in each major, plus the minor suit aces.

After winning the diamond lead, declarer cashed a top spade and was disconcerted to see West show out, meaning that East had five spades. Time for a rethink.  

Read more: We shall overcome

Markovics' Swiss bacon

A Swiss event is like a ladder - the top two pairs play each other and so on. Each Wednesday night at Trumps Bridge Centre, there is a Swiss Pairs and while the round is being scored up, expert panellists discuss the deals just played. This article features one such deal. 

After your partner opens a 15-17 1NT, what is your strategy with this hand?

 93
 A843
 A8
 T8753

Read more: Markovics' Swiss bacon

Good judgement

Would you open the bidding with the hand below?

NORTH
 KT65
 T7
 4
 AQJT82

Read more: Good judgement

Living with losers

With the hand below, South opened a game force, then bid spades next round. South has one obvious diamond loser and the chance of losing something in hearts, but after North showed spade support, South decided that slam was worth a go. Perhaps North would have a useful card (such as the HQ) or the hearts might come good (on a successful finesse, for example).

Plan as South your play in 6S, on the lead of the CA:

NORTH
 T62
 53
 65
 Q98632 

SOUTH
 AKQJ93
 AKJ98
 A7
 —

Read more: Living with losers

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