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Challenging Deal (Le Bridgeur Magazine No. 922)

2017 World Vice-Champion Jérôme Rombaut writes a column in the French magazine “Le Bridgeur” every two months.

In the article below, published in issue 922 of the magazine (May / June 2019), Jérôme gives us a new board analysis from 2019 Memphis NABC.

Commented bridge board by Jérôme Rombaut

Unless you are very imaginative or naturally scatterbrained, this deal will make life difficult for you. Whatever happens, savour it!

You defend against 6♠ after South has shown five spades and nearly all the remaining points.

S 10 8 2
H K Q 9 8 7
D A
C  A K 5 4
S 
H 
D 
C 
orientationS Q 9 3
H 10 6 4 2
D Q 10 7 3 2
C  7
S
H
D
C 

Your partner leads the ♣J. The declarer takes it with the ♣Q and returns the ♠A.

Which card do you play?

To find the right card to play, imagine yourself in the declarer’s shoes with ♠AK764 ♥AJ ♦K654 ♣Q8.

His main concern is not to lose two trumps. If you follow with the ♠3 or ♠9, he will play the King and claim 12 tricks when trumps are 3-2.

But if you follow with the Queen with no hesitation, the declarer will assume that trumps split J953 on one hand and bare Queen on the other (bare Queen-Jack wouldn’t make any difference).

In that case, to make his contract, he will be obliged to play a low spade to catch the Jack-fourth.

And that is when the sky falls on his head.

Your partner will gain the lead with his Jack-second and give you your club ruff.

That is defensive play worthy of a world champion!

Unfortunately, not everyone is Zia Mahmood and no-one found it at the table.

The full deal was:

S 10 8 2
H K Q 9 8 7
D A
C  A K 5 4
S  J 5
H  5 3
D  J 9 8
C  J 10 9 6 3 2
orientationS Q 9 3
H 10 6 4 2
D Q 10 7 3 2
C  7
S A K 7 6 4
H A J
D K 6 5 4
C  Q 8