BSOL to the Fore

Nobody at our club managed to make thirteen tricks in a heart contract on this board. Deep Finesse tells us that thirteen tricks can be made. It will give the reader an exercise in declarer play and the reader will be able to judge for themselves whether this is a sensible way to play a 4H contract or not. And should East land up in 6H, should the play be the same?

Board 6 from Thursday 11/04/2019
Dealer E EW Vul


South leads the two of spades against East’s 4H. Here is how Bridge Solver On Line (BSOL) would play it: win spade ace, ace of clubs and ruff a club with the six (the two would also work this time). Then, king of hearts and ace of hearts and a club ruffed in hand, thus setting up the rest of the clubs in dummy. Draw last trump and enter dummy with diamond king and take all the clubs, which comes to at least thirteen tricks!

But is that a sensible line if you are in a slam? Yes it is because ruffing a spade in dummy and then drawing trumps after entering hand with the ace of diamonds will still require the diamonds to break, won’t it? Playing to ruff out the clubs makes much more sense, but declarer has to get the timing right. Trying to ruff the third club while leaving the jack or ten of trumps with North will allow North to ruff and when declarer over ruffs it will promote the nine for South. I would certainly play the same way that BSOL would this time, and you will note that even if North has the three trumps North can be over-ruffed if he ruffs the third club. Not one pair in the whole of “X-Clubs” bid to slam in hearts, and only ONE declarer made thirteen tricks in 4H or 5H if pushed there when NS found the 4S sacrifice (which would have cost them -800!)

Replay this board in BSOL by clicking here.