East-West vulnerable. East deals.
xQ 10 2
uK 9 6 2
vQ J 10 6
x4 x9 8 6 3
uQ 7 5 u3
vA 5 3 vK 8 7 4
wJ 9 7 6 5 3 wA K 10 4
xA K J 7 5
uA J 10 8 4
EAST SOUTH WEST NORTH
Pass 1x Pass 1NT
Pass 2u Pass 3u
Pass 4u Pass Pass
Opening lead: Six of w
Study the bidding and play of this deal. Did someone err? If so, who and how?
By agreement, North’s one no trump response was forcing. Had South rebid in a minor, North planned to jump to three spades to show invitational values but only three-card support — a marginal choice with an aceless hand. When South rebid two hearts, North switched horses by inviting game in South’s second suit with a raise and South was happy to accept.
West led a low club to East’s king. East continued with the ace, declarer ruffing. South now took the percentage play in hearts, leading a trump to the king and a trump back to the ace. When West showed out, declarer had no way to avoid losing a heart and two diamonds — down one.
Perfectly normal, wasn’t it? What is your opinion, and why?
Considered in a vacuum, South’s play in hearts was eminently correct. But that is seldom the way one should think at the bridge table.
Here East, who had passed originally, has shown up with ace and king of clubs and the opening lead has marked him with a high diamond — West would surely have led a diamond holding the ace-king. Give East the queen of hearts as well, and the defender would surely have opened the bidding. East would then have at least two-and-a-half quick tricks and 12 points or more in high cards.
With that information at hand, South should have spurned the percentage play in trumps in favor of finessing West for her majesty by cashing the ace and running the jack. That would have landed the contract instead of down one.
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