~3NT Cannot Be Beaten

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North
S 972
H T8432
D A9
C 753

West
S T4
H Q65
D T62
C AKJT4

South
S KJ86
H K9
D Q8754
C 92

East
S AQ53
H AJ7
D KJ3
C Q86

Taken from the daily bridge column in the Union Tribune. East opens 1NT and West raises to 3NT. South leads the 5 of diamonds. If South has led fourth high from his longest suit, the Rule of Eleven says that the other hands are holding six cards higher than the five (11-5 = 6). If South has led from a 4 or 5-card suit, the bid cannot be set!

First, count the winners (recommended action when playing a no-trump contract) and see where you may be able to create the additional winners you need without unduly jeopardizing the contract. You have 1 sure diamond trick, 5 club tricks, and the 2 major-suit aces. You need 1 more trick. If South has led from the AQ of diamonds, you can take the J of diamonds at trick one and later finesse a heart and/or a spade; if South wins, she cannot attack diamonds again without your winning the diamond king. However, North wins the diamond ace and leads the diamond 9 to your K. When South follows suit, contract made! If North held the long diamonds, she would be unlikely to have played the A followed by the nine. If South has 5 diamonds and you finesse and lose a heart or a spade, South will take three diamonds, which added to the diamond partner took and the K taken in hearts or spades, results in a one-trick set. So, don’t lead a heart or spade! After winning the K of diamonds, take the 5 clubs and then lead a diamond. You have just end-played South! She can take the remaining three diamonds but must then lead either a heart or a spade, giving you your 9th trick.

Playing Tip: look for ways to earn the tricks you need without taking the 50% odds of a finesse.

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One Response to “~3NT Cannot Be Beaten”

  1. tom Says:

    E & W have the same heart holding—AJ7!

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