East-West vulnerable. South deals.


xQ J 10 6

uK Q J 8

vQ J

w10 8 5


x7 2 xK 9 8

u6 4 3 2 u7 5

v10 7 6 5 4 3 v9 2

wK wA Q J 7 4 2


xA 5 4 3

uA 10 9

vA K 8

w9 6 3

The bidding:


1NT Pass 2w Dbl

2x Pass 4x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead King of w

Study the diagram above and decide — what card is key to successful defense against South’s four-spade contract?

East’s double of North’s Stayman inquiry is lead-directing and is also a penalty double. Vulnerable, it promises at least a five-card suit headed by three of the top five honors, or two of the top three.

West obligingly led the king of clubs and East overtook so as to score three club tricks for the defense. Even if South had a dead minimum no-trump opening bid, all the high cards were now accounted for, so the only hope East had was that a trump trick could be set up. Therefore, after overtaking the king of clubs with the ace and cashing two more clubs, East continued with another club. West obligingly uppercut declarer’s combined trump holding by ruffing with the seven, forcing dummy to overruff with an honor. Now as long as East covered a trump honor when led from the table, there was no way for South to prevent East from scoring a trump trick for down one, thanks to West’s mighty seven.

2012 Tribune Media Services

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