North-South vulnerable. East deals.


xK Q 8 7 4 2

u5 2

vK 3

w8 6 3


x9 6 xA J 10

u7 3 uK J 9 8 6

v10 8 6 4 vQ J 9

wJ 7 5 4 2 wQ 10


x5 3

uA Q 10 4

vA 7 5 2

wA K 9

The bidding:


1u 1NT Pass 3x

Pass 3NT Pass Pass


Opening lead: Seven of u

On West’s opening heart lead, East put up the king and South won with the ace. A spade was led to the table’s king and East allowed it to hold. Declarer came to hand by taking a winning finesse of the ten of hearts and then led another spade to the queen, losing to the ace. It now was almost impossible to both establish and cash dummy’s spade suit since declarer had but one entry to the table, the king of diamonds. South eventually suffered a one-trick defeat.

Had East captured the initial spade lead, declarer would have had plain sailing. He would, in that case, have won East’s return and led his remaining spade to the board’s queen and continued the suit, losing to the jack. There would now be three spade winners on the table and the king of diamonds would be the entry to cash them.

Declarer’s mistake was that he failed to realize the significance of East’s opening bid. Surely East figured to have the ace of spades, so there would likely be two spade losers. But if the adverse spades were divided 3-2, as they figured to be, declarer could bring home the bacon by forcing the defenders to capture the first spade lead. That could be accomplished by leading a spade to dummy’s eight!

East can win cheaply, but now declarer can win any return and force out the ace by continuing with a spade to the king of spades. Ducking the spade doesn’t help. Declarer simply continues with spades from the top. There would still be a diamond entry to the table to cash the long spades. No matter how the defense continues, declarer must come to four spade tricks and his contract.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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