• a reference site for bridge
  • jefftang AT gmail DOT com


This recent deal from a pickup game put declarer's determination to the test.


       North    
9873
J7
WestQJEast
A1054AQ987KJ62
Q6543-
43SouthA7652
64SQ10532
HAK10982
DK1098
CKJ


Against South's 4 contract, West found his best lead of the spade ace and continued with a spade to the king when his partner signaled encouragement. Declarer ruffed, played the ace of trumps, and paused when East discarded a diamond.

Now a diamond was led to the queen and ace, and East eagerly continued the tap by returning the spade jack, declarer ruffing again. Two rounds of clubs were cashed, followed by the diamond king. This was now the situation:


      North      
9
J
West-East
10Q982
Q654-
-South76
-S-105
HK109
D109
C-


When declarer now led the 10, West was helpless. If he discarded his spade, declarer could pitch a black card from dummy and then play his last diamond, forcing West to either ruff and get overruffed, or to ruff with the queen and concede the rest. If West ruffed high, declarer could either ruff the spade return in dummy or win the heart return in hand to draw trumps. In practice, West ruffed with the 4; declarer overruffed in dummy, ruffed a spade, and played the 9. West, forced to ruff, had to lead from the Q6 into declarer's K10 at trick 12. Making 4.

Had declarer not cashed two rounds of clubs before playing off his diamond winners, West could have pitched his clubs and eventually scored a club ruff to go with his heart queen for one down.

It is also interesting to note that had East ducked his diamond ace, declarer's timing is thrown off and careful defense always sets the contract.