The Real-ish Deal

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 08/01/2019
Level: Intermediate

This month’s real deal comes from an IMP match played on Bridge Base Online. The defenders’s hands have been adjusted slightly to punish the guilty, so this is a real-ish deal.

  ♠ 98632
♥ 54
♦ A5
♣ 10864
♠ AJ7
♥ 1098
♦ Q9432
♣ A2
  ♠ 54
♥ KJ7632
♦ J107
♣ 95
  ♠ KQ10
♥ AQ
♦ K86
♣ KQJ73
 PASS 3♠ PASS 3♠
ALL PASS      










After North’s choice of games bid with 3NT, South is just a little bit shy of making a control bid on the way to 4♠. If the ♠K were the ♠A, then you should.

The lead is the ♠10 and dummy offers no real surprises. Counting losers from the proper hand is key. North has no diamond losers, one club loser, and no heart losers on this lead. That means that declarer can afford to lose two spade tricks. Our declarer (a national champion who shall not be named) got greedy and led a diamond to dummy at trick two followed by a spade to the K which was cleverly ducked. Now declarer played two more diamonds ruffing in dummy to reach this position around the table.


  ♠ 986
♥ 5
♣ 10864
♠ AJ
♥ 98
♦ Q9
♣ A2
  ♠ 5
♥ J7632
♣ 95
  ♠ Q10
♥ Q
♣ KQJ73

 Declarer now led a spade.

West won the spade, drew trump and exited with the ♠Q resulting in down one.

How should declarer play? Well we only counted three losers to begin with, so declarer should simply play a spade from hand at trick 2. This play is clear at imps, but at matchpoints you might consider attempting to find an overtrick in the spade suit. Leading the K and then crossing to finesse for the J might still be the superior line.