Writers’ weekly 25 | The most likely distribution

The bidding and play of the cards do often give important information. So, does the bids that were not bid and the cards that were not played!

This hand came up during the 54th European Team Championships, let’s see if you are up to the test


You had for your bid and partner gave you maximum trust raising to game in clubs. 11 tricks are not clear cut when west lead the ace of spades then turn the king of diamonds.

Do you have a view of the chances for making 11 tricks?

At this hand you can combine the chances. By ruffing spades in dummy you have 10 tricks. The hearts can bring an extra trick if QJ drops or you can find west holding Q x or J x by ruffing out the missing high card from east.

There is also another chance that the diamonds are blocked. Let’s say west holds KQ doubleton or east J x. We can handle this by winning the ace then eliminated hearts/spades before playing the second diamond hoping for an endplay.

Declarer took the ace of diamonds, pulled the trumps in two rounds noticing west discarding a spade the second round. Next came the ace of hearts a heart to the king, west following the queen.

The ten of hearts were played and east contributed a small heart. Do you think west started with Q x in hearts or could he have Q J x or even Q J x x?

Declarer gave it a thought. If west only held 2-cards in hearts it gave him the distribution 5-2-5-1 or 6-2-4-1. He seems to hold more HCP than minimum so with those holding he might be more willing to bid one more time instead of passing 3 clubs.  Declarer therefore figured out it was a better chance to hope west had 5-3-4-1 or 6-4-2-1.

Declarer ruffed the ten of hearts, it turned out to be perfect since the cards looked like this


The jack dropped, declarer had his 11 tricks scoring on the nine of hearts.

It was just about giving it a little thought!