North-South vulnerable. South deals.


xA J 9

uA 10 3

v9 8 5

wA Q J 9


x6 4 3 x8

uJ 8 6 uQ 7 5 4 2

vA Q 7 2 vJ 10 4

w7 6 3 wK 8 4 2


xK Q 10 7 5 2

uK 9

vK 6 3

w10 5

The bidding:


1x Pass 3NT Pass

4x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Three of x

The key to success in four spades was for South to take a finesse. However, it was not the obvious one. Only a good technician would find the winning line.

North’s three no trump response to the one-spade opening bid showed a flat 4-3-3-3 hand with 15-17 points. Although nine tricks at no trump were cold as the cards lay, South’s correction to four spades cannot be faulted.

West made the safe opening lead of a low trump. If the ace of diamonds was with West and the king of clubs with East, there would be four losers. However, declarer uncovered an elegant way to counter that lie of the cards as long as both the queen and jack of hearts were not with East.

At trick two declarer led a low heart from dummy and, when East followed low, the nine was inserted! This avoidance play assured the contract against any normal distribution since the king of diamonds was now safe from attack.

West could do no better than revert to trumps. Declarer won in hand, cashed the king of hearts and crossed to dummy with the ace of clubs. A club was discarded on the ace of hearts and the queen of clubs was led for a ruffing finesse. Had East not covered, declarer would simply have discarded a diamond from hand and, had West won, the only other trick for the defense would have been the ace of diamonds. Indeed, West has to cash the ace or lose it. When East covered, declarer ruffed, crossed to the high trump and discarded two diamonds on the jack and nine of clubs. Declarer lost only one diamond trick and one heart.

2011 Tribune Media Services

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