East-West vulnerable. West deals.


x6 5 4

uQ 7

vQ 10 5 4

wJ 7 6 5


x10 8 xK 9 7 3 2

uK 10 8 5 2 uJ 9 6 4

vJ 8 7 6 v9

wK 4 wA 3 2


xA Q J

uA 3

vA K 3 2

wQ 10 9 8

The bidding:


Pass Pass Pass 2NT

Pass 3NT Pass Pass


Opening lead: Five of u

One pip can make a big difference in your choice of opening lead. Change West’s eight of hearts to the nine, and the correct opening lead would have been the ten!

Declarer has only one chance for two heart tricks — to rise with the table’s queen. When that holds, declarer can count eight likely tricks — two spades, two hearts and four diamonds. However, there is no time for declarer to establish a club trick — the defenders will come to three hearts and two clubs, since they are a tempo ahead in the race. The only hope is a successful spade finesse.

Suiting the word to the deed, declarer led a spade and finessed the jack. When that holds, he continues with the ace and king of diamonds and, when East discards on the second round, takes the marked finesse of the ten. A repeat spade finesse gives declarer nine tricks — three spades, two hearts and four diamonds — nine tricks without a single one in clubs!

2013 Tribune Media Services

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