Neither vulnerable. North deals.


x10 8 7 3

uA J 5 2

vA 6

wA K 9


xA J 6 xQ 9 4

u7 uK Q

vJ 10 9 3 2 v8 7 5 4

wQ 10 7 6 wJ 5 4 2


xK 5 2

u10 9 8 6 4 3

vK Q

w8 3

The bidding:


1NT Pass 3u Pass

4u Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Jack of v

There are certain “rules” relating to the play of the cards. They work most of the time. But when you can see that will not be good enough in a particular case, you have to be creative.

We are not enamored of South’s decision to bid a forcing three hearts over North’s one no trump since the unprotected diamond honors might not be pulling their full weight. For example, make the two of spades the two of diamonds and we would force. The hand is worth an extra trick and four hearts would be laydown.

West led the jack of diamonds, won in the closed hand. Declarer led a heart to the ace (running the ten might be better to protect against a 3-0 split with West), cashed the ace of diamonds dropping his own king, and ace and king of clubs, ruffed a club in hand and exited with a trump to the king.

From the play of the cards, it was obvious that South had started with a 3-6-2-2 distribution and a minor suit return would give away the contract via a ruff-sluff. Spades would have to be attacked. If East returned a low spade, declarer would simply duck and, on winning the jack of spades, West would be endplayed. There was just one chance to get the three tricks needed to defeat the contract.

East shifted to the queen of spades, and declarer had a problem. If East was leading from the queen-jack, it was right to duck and leave East on lead; if East did not hold the jack as well, South must cover and dummy’s ten will be the fulfilling trick. The odds are slightly in favor of covering with the king, but it is pretty much a toss-up and we didn’t stop to find out what South elected to do!

2013 Tribune Media Services

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