North-South vulnerable. North deals.


xK 10 7

u9 4 3 2

v9 8 4 3

wA 6


xA Q 9 8 6 4 3 xJ 5

u8 6 u10

vK vQ J 7 6 2

wK 9 5 wJ 10 8 3 2



uA K Q J 7 5

vA 10 5

wQ 7 4

The bidding:


Pass Pass 4u 4x

5u Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of v

In the good book of bridge, it is written: “For every play there is a reason.” Find the reason, and the way to make — or break — the contract will become clear.

South’s decision to open with four hearts in third seat was based in part on a desire to shut out an opposing spade contract — an impossible feat given West’s holding and the vulnerability. With four-card support for opener’s suit, North never contemplated doubling.

West led the king of diamonds, declarer winning. Trumps were drawn in two rounds and a low spade was led. West rose with the ace and exited with a low spade. Declarer put up dummy’s king, discarding a diamond from hand, then led the ten of spades, discarding the last diamond from hand.

In with the queen of spades, West had a choice of losing options — either leading a club away from the king, or conceding a ruff-sluff. In either case the contract was home.

What made declarer opt for this line rather than something more exotic? If West held another diamond, the defender certainly would have continued that suit when in with the ace of spades. Similarly, if West did not hold the king of clubs, a club shift would have been automatic. Those clues were all that a good technician needed to bring home a difficult contract.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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