Both vulnerable. North deals.


xQ 7 5

uA 10 9 3

vA K Q

w6 5 3


x10 8 6 3 x2

u8 5 uK Q J 7 6 2

vJ 9 8 2 v7

wK J 10 wA Q 9 8 4


xA K J 9 4


v10 6 5 4 3

w7 2

The bidding:


1NT 2u 3x Pass

4x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Eight of u

Study the bidding and play of this deal from a pairs event, then decide who, if anyone, is to blame for reaching four spades, down one.

There are several bidding agreements involved. North’s one no trump range was 15-17; East’s overcall showed hearts and a minor suit, and South’s three spades was invitational, not forcing. Despite a minimum one no trump, North elected to bid on to game.

Declarer won the opening lead in dummy and drew all the trumps, leaving just one trump in the closed hand. The ace and king of diamonds were cashed but, when East showed out on the second round, the contract was a goner. Declarer needed two entries to hand to concede a diamond and cash the long diamond but had only one — the trump. Down one.

It might seem that with only 15 points, North should have been content with a partscore. However, the queen of trumps must be upgraded and, with all prime values on the side, the hand clearly rated some action.

The play, however, did leave something to be desired. When East shows out on the second round of trumps, declarer should abandon the suit in favor of cashing the ace and king of diamonds. If both defenders follow suit, declarer draws the remaining trumps, cashes the queen of diamonds and returns to hand with a heart ruff to score the long diamonds and 11 tricks in all — five spades, one heart and five diamonds.

When East shows out on the second diamond, declarer continues with the queen of diamonds, extracts the outstanding trumps and concedes a diamond. Declarer’s remaining trump is the entry to cash the long diamond for the fulfilling trick.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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