Neither vulnerable. South deals.


xA K 6 5 4

uK 9 3

v9 7 2

wK 10


xQ 8 3 xJ 10

uQ 6 2 uA 8 7 5

vA J 6 3 vQ 8 5

w9 8 7 w6 5 3 2


x9 7 2

uJ 10 4

vK 10 4

wA Q J 4

The bidding:


Pass Pass 1x Pass

2NT Pass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Three of v

Thank goodness bridge players, like the rest of the human race, have 10 fingers. Quite often the ability to count that high is all that is required to find the winning line.

The jump to two no trump by a passed hand promises a balanced holding and 11-12 high-card points. North judged that the good five-card suit and all-prime points were just enough to raise partner’s response to game.

West led the three of diamonds to the deuce, queen and king. With seven fast tricks, a careless declarer might go after spades. While that will produce the required two extra tricks, they will come too late. The defenders will cash three diamond tricks and the ace of hearts before declarer can gather nine, for down one.

The opening lead and the two of diamonds on the table mark West with a four-card suit. That means there is only one legitimate line to nine tricks, all declarer needs is to find West with the queen of hearts.

After winning the first trick with the king of diamonds, declarer should immediately run the jack of hearts. As the cards lie, there is nothing the defenders can do to prevent South from scoring two heart tricks, four clubs, two spades and the king of diamonds, for a total of nine. East-West can do no better than take three diamond tricks and the ace of hearts. And if East has the queen of hearts instead of West? So what! The contract was doomed in any event.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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