North-South vulnerable. North deals.


xA K Q 8

u7 4

vK Q

wA J 10 9 5


xJ 10 9 2 x4 3

u9 8 uA K J 6 5 2

vA 8 3 v10 9 5 2

wQ 8 6 2 w4


x7 6 5

uQ 10 3

vJ 7 6 4

wK 7 3

The bidding:


1w 2u Pass Pass

Dbl Pass 3w Pass

3uPass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Nine of u

This deal is from a club pro-am game. Follow the bidding and play then decide: who was the pro and who the amateur?

North-South bid well to the only game that had a chance. North’s hand was too strong for a two-spade reopening bid. The double not only showed power, but allowed for the possibility of South opting to defend for penalties. The three-heart cue-bid asked for a stopper, and South confirmed one by converting to three no trump.

West led the top of partner’s suit, and East encouraged with the six. On lead after winning the ten of hearts, declarer cashed the king of clubs and then took the finesse. The operation was a success, but the patient died. When East discarded on this trick, declarer could not run the suit and had to settle for seven tricks.

North’s bidding and East’s defense are clearly of expert caliber. The same cannot be said, however, of South’s play. East’s pre-empt made it likely that the defender held a singleton somewhere, and the most likely spot for it was the club suit, North-South’s longest combined fit. If that were the case, the odds are 4-to-1 in favor of it being a low card rather than the queen.

Taking that into account, at trick two declarer should have led a low card and finessed the nine. When that held, declarer could return to hand with the king of clubs to repeat the finesse and bring in the club suit to land nine tricks.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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