Neither vulnerable. South deals.


x9 4 3 2

uA K Q J 9

v9 4

w7 6


xQ 8 6 5 x7

u7 2 u10 8 5 4

vA K Q 3 vJ 6 5 2

wK 10 8 wJ 5 3 2


xA K J 10

u6 3

v10 8 7

wA Q 9 4

The bidding:


1w1v 1u Pass

1x Pass 3x Pass

4x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of v

Like in war, lines of communication at the bridge table are the lifeblood of the struggle for the contract. Stretch them unwisely, and untold harm can result.

There are two points of interest in the auction — West’s overcall on a four-card suit and North’s invitational jump to three spades — the hand is a whisker short of a leap to game.

West led the king of diamonds — then continued with the queen and ace. Declarer ruffed in dummy and led a trump to the ten, which held. Impressed with the ”success” of the finesse, declarer returned to the jack of hearts and continued with another trump. When East showed out, declarer realized the contract was in great danger. South did as well as possible by playing the jack. West countered elegantly by winning with the queen and returning a heart. That killed dummy, and declarer went down three tricks.

Against skilled defenders, the fact that the ten of spades won the first trump trick meant nothing. Declarer should have husbanded the dummy’s entries by continuing with the jack of trumps. That would have rendered the defenders helpless. Since there was still a trump on the table to control diamonds should West lead a fourth round of the suit, declarer cannot be prevented from drawing the remaining trumps, then running hearts for all the discards needed. The defenders would get only two diamond tricks and a trump.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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