Saturday, August 13, 2011

Jennbridge: A 16-Point Slam (If You Can Make It)

This hand came up the other night on Bridge Base Online.  My partner (not Jenn) had a chance for a great result, but he mis-timed the play.  See if you can do better.

He held:

♠ KJ9542
♥  void
♦  AKT42
♣  76

He opened 1 Spade.  The auction proceeded Double, 4 Spades, pass back to him.  He decided to take a gamble and bid 6 Spades!  LHO led the king of hearts, and he looked at:

♠  AT87
♥  JT96432
♦  6
♣  4

♠ KJ9542
♣ 76

How would you play it?  (Hint:  it isn't as easy as it seems)

To make it on a cross-ruff, you have to avoid an overruff, as either opponent with Qx will return a trump so you will be a trick short.  Alternatively, you can see if you can set up a long diamond and score 9 ruffing tricks, or set up dummy's hearts. 

To set up the hearts, you have to play RHO for Qx.  Then you can draw 2 rounds of trump, ruff a heart, play the diamond AK pitching a club, ruff a minor in dummy and run the heart Jack.  LHO wins and dummy is high.  This line would have succeeded. 

Trying to set up a long diamond and score 9 trump tricks is an illusion.  Try it.  You will end up either losing to an overruff and trump continuation, or run out of trumps and end up losing 2 clubs.

The best line seems to be to go for the straight cross-ruff.  This succeeds when RHO has at least 3 diamonds and the queen of spades.  The play would go:

Heart ruff low
Diamond ace
Diamond king pitching a club
Diamond ruff low in dummy
Heart ruff low
Club ruff low
Heart ruff low
Club ruff low
Heart ruff with the 9
Ruff fourth diamond with the Ace.
Heart ruff with the Jack (and hope it isn't overruffed)

That's 11 tricks, and trick 12 is the spade King.
Good luck!


MHOBridge said...

I like: D AK pitching a club; Trump to the 8, if LHO follows low. If this wins, H ruff, trump to dummy, H ruff, trump to dummy -if hearts are not good, concede a H and claim (unless hearts were 5-1, in which case very good luck in diamonds is needed. If the first trump to dummy loses to the Q, you need 3-3 hearts.

Bob Klein said...

To MHOBridge:

In view of the bidding, it is likely that LHO is short in spades, and unlikely that hearts will be 3-3. So I don't like your odds. Playing for RHO to have 3 or more diamonds and the queen of spades is a better chance.