# Minor Breaks

### Hand of the Week

Dlr:
East
VUL:
E-W
North
♠ K Q 8 5
9 4 3
A K 8 2
♣ A 5

South
♠ A J 3 2
Q
Q J 9 3
♣ K Q J 6

 West North East South 3♥ Dbl Pass 4♥ Pass 4♠ Pass 5♠ Pass 6♠ All Pass

The North hand is far to strong to be content with a simple 4♠ in response to your takeout double, so North must cuebid 4. Once the spade fit came to light, North showed his extra values with a raise to 5♠, while denying a heart control. With the control in hearts, you had an easy raise to 6♠.

West led the ♥6. East won the ♥K and continued with the ♥A.

You ruffed with a low trump, as West followed with the two of hearts. All seemed easy until you cashed the ace of trumps only to find East discarding a heart. After checking with East that he was sure he didn’t have a trump, how do you plan to make the slam (assuming West began with exactly two hearts)?

### Solution

You can always make 12 tricks as long as West has exactly two hearts and at least two cards in each minor. Suppose the full deal is:

Dlr:
East
VUL:
E-W
North
♠ K Q 8 5
9 4 3
A K 8 2
♣ A 5
West
♠ 10 9 7 6 4
6 2
10 5 4
♣ 9 8 3
East
♠ —
A K J 10 8 7 5
7 6
♣ 10 7 4 2
South
♠ A J 3 2
Q
Q J 9 3
♣ K Q J 6

Your first move is to lead the three of trumps. If West plays the ♠9, dummy will win the trick with the queen. Then you cash the A and play a diamond to your queen, continuing with the ♣A and ♣K. Next you play the ♣Q. When West follows, you discard a diamond from dummy and persist with the ♣J. West ruffs and you overruff. As West is 5-2 in the majors with three clubs, his original distribution must have been 5=2=3=3, so it is safe to cash another diamond. You have taken 10 tricks and make the last two on a high crossruff.

The play is similar when West holds four clubs, in which case you will discard two diamonds from dummy and only then lead a third diamond. West will ruff and dummy will overruff cheaply. You will score the last two tricks on a crossruff.

It would not matter if West could ruff the third club, for then his original distribution would be 5=2=4=2. You would overruff and cash the two remaining diamond winners before taking the last two tricks, as before, on a high crossruff.

The overall chance of success when West began with five spades and two hearts is a surprising 87%.

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