Neither vulnerable. North deals.
x -A K Q 10
u -Q 9
v -Q 4
w -A K 5 3 2
x -7 6 3 x -J 9 5 2
u -6 5 4 u -A K 7 2
v -8 7 v -A 9 5 3
w -Q J 10 9 4 w -7
x -8 4
u -J 10 8 3
v -K J 10 6 2
w -8 6
The bidding:
1x Dbl 1v Pass
2x Pass 2NT Pass
3NT Pass Pass Pass
Opening lead: Queen of w
Watching the duel between an expert declarer and equally skilled defenders is like watching a boxing match between the world champion and the No. 1 contender. The tide of battle ebbs and flows as each tries to gain an advantage.
Note South's one diamond bid immediately after the double. It promised little more than a reasonable suit. Two no trump over opener's two-spade rebid showed no more values, but North was too good to stay out of game.
West led the queen of clubs taken with dummy's king. Declarer realized that it would take little more than holding up the ace of diamonds one round to render the closed hand worthless, so South adopted an alternate scheme -- trying to set up two heart tricks in hand -- and, at trick two, led the queen of hearts from dummy.
East countered elegantly by winning with the king of hearts and returning a low diamond. Now declarer could set up two heart tricks but would have no entry to them. Declarer won in dummy with the queen and continued with a heart to East's ace. East cashed the ace of diamonds and shifted to the nine of spades.
Declarer realized that, if he won the trick with the ten, after cashing the table's winners he would be stranded with three losing clubs. There was a neat parry. Declarer won with the queen and cashed the ace and king, intending to endplay East. But East scored a knockdown by jettisoning the jack, and declarer had to concede three club tricks for down two.
& copy;2005 Tribune Media Services

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