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Today’s deal is from a match-point event where declarer scored an absolute top by his excellent technique on play.

Contract: 6 NT by south. West leads the S8. Plan the play.

Bidding comment: NS were playing Precision. North’s bid of 3H was artificial and it indicated a balanced hand of 24-26 points. With seven points and a decent five-card suit, south tried a quantitative 4NT. His partner interpreted it as ace-asking and replied 5C to show all the four aces. South gambled 6NT now, for he felt there would be a play for the contract.

Analysis: Declarer requires four tricks from clubs. Either the suit should divide 3-3 or east should have K-x in clubs. Even then there are only eleven tricks. The lead indicates that east has Q-T-x-x in spades. How did declarer proceed?

Play: Dummy won with the ace and declarer played ace and another club to the jack. West won with the king and played a second spade. Dummy won again and declarer made a key play now. He cashed the DA and entered hand by the DK. He proceeded to cash the clubs next and was happy to find the suit divide 3-3. The last five-card position was:

When the last club was played, west gave up a heart as she was forced to keep the DQ. Dummy gave up the spade and east was in trouble. As he knew declarer had the SJ, he gave up a heart too. Declarer’s hearts ran for four tricks now. The defenders were simultaneously squeezed. The complete hands were:

Discussion: NS should have reached 6D which as you can see, is ice-cold. South should have relayed with an artificial 3S, forcing a 3NT rebid from north. A 4C bid now is Baron, asking opener to bid up the line. When north bids 4D, south can bid a confident 6D.

Being a match-point event, you can’t fault south for trying for the better score of 6NT.

Did you notice he was let off by west? After winning the club king, west should have returned a heart to cut the link between declarer and dummy, to destroy the squeeze.

You will agree that declarer's play was immaculate. After the defensive slip by west, declarer seized the opportunity to execute the Vienna Coup, by cashing the DA.

NS earned a hundred percent score for their effort. It would have been an absolute bottom for them if west had been alert to find the killing defence!

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Keywords: Bridge game