Neither vulnerable. East deals.


x8 5 3

uK 6

v7 6 4

wQ 9 8 3 2


xJ xQ 10 9 6 2

uJ 10 8 7 3 2 u9 4

vQ J 5 vK 10 9

w10 5 4 wA K 6


xA K 7 4

uA Q 5

vA 8 3 2

wJ 7

The bidding:


1x Dbl 2u 3w

Pass 3NT Pass Pass


Opening lead: Jack of x

Our “hidden camera” was present at a recent duplicate event and recorded this deal. Our question to you is: How many errors were committed in the bidding and play?

West led the jack of spades against three no trump, East overtook with the queen and declarer won with the king. The jack of clubs was run to East’s king and the ten of spades was returned. Declarer ducked in hand and followed with the eight from dummy, setting up a finesse position. Now West shifted to a diamond. Declarer rose with the ace and continued with a club, putting up the queen when West followed low. The defenders now collected one spade, two diamonds and a third trick in clubs — down two.

Let’s run through the bridge crimes. South’s takeout double of one spade was dreadful. Although a little on the heavy side, the only sound action is an overcall of one no trump and, if West bids hearts, North-South would probably have bought the hand at two no trump.

The play was a comedy of errors. First, there was no point to overtaking the jack of spades. If West held two spades, it was unnecessary; if the jack was singleton, overtaking would give declarer a third trick in the suit. East erred on the next trick as well — it was vital to allow the jack of clubs to hold to kill dummy’s suit.

Declarer restored equity by committing a gaffe at the third trick when he allowed East to bank a spade trick. Since declarer could not stand a diamond shift, it was essential to win the spade and revert to clubs. East surely held the ace of clubs, so declarer should have finessed the eight of clubs rather than going up with the queen.

The par result for defending three no trump after the spade lead is down one, but in a pairs contest the normal result can prove most elusive.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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