Both vulnerable. South deals.


xA Q 10 9 6 5 4


v8 3

wK 8 7 4


xVoid x3

uJ 10 7 6 4 3 uA K 9 8 5 2

vK 9 5 4 v7 6 2

wJ 10 2 wA Q 9


xK J 8 7 2


vA Q J 10

w6 5 3

The bidding:


1x Pass 4x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Jack of u

Bridge players are, by nature, superstitious. Often, however, they make their own bad luck. Consider South’s plight on this deal.

The auction was soon over. Despite a strong hand in support, we endorse North’s pre-emptive raise to game, if for no other reason than to keep East-West out of the auction. As the cards lie, they can make 11 tricks at a heart contract.

West led the jack of hearts. Declarer ruffed, drew the outstanding trump and took the diamond finesse, which lost. West lost no time switching to a club honor, and the defenders racked up three tricks in the suit for a one-trick set. ”Two cards wrong out of two,” muttered South. ”I’m jinxed!”

”Quite the contrary,” retorted North. ”You were lucky to escape a club lead, which would have doomed you from the outset. Now there is no excuse for not making 10 tricks.”

Of course, North was correct. The only threat to the contract was that East held the ace of clubs and West the king of diamonds, in which case West had to be kept off lead to prevent a shift through the king of clubs. That could be accomplished by discarding a diamond from dummy at trick one instead of ruffing!

Best defense is for East to win and return a diamond, but now a ruffing finesse is available as an avoidance play. Declarer rises with the ace, draws the trump, then continues with the queen of diamonds, discarding a club from the table should West follow low. If the finesse loses, declarer can discard two more clubs from dummy on high diamonds. If West covers, declarer ruffs, returns to hand with a trump and discards two clubs on the diamonds, losing only two clubs and a heart. Either way 10 tricks are guaranteed.

2012 Tribune Media Services

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