East-West vulnerable. South deals.


xK J 7 6 5


v8 4 3

wA K J 8


xVoid xQ 10 3

uK J 10 7 5 2 uQ 9 4 3

vK Q J 5 v10 9 2

w10 6 3 wQ 9 2


xA 9 8 4 2

uA 8

vA 7 6

w7 5 4

The bidding:


1x 2u 3u Pass

3x Pass 4x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of D

Successful declarers are by nature pessimists who always bear in mind Murphy’s Law: If something bad can happen, it will. Declarer thought that four spades would be a simple contract, but failure to take due care proved expensive.

North’s three-heart cue-bid showed a limit raise or better in spades. The vulnerability was wrong for East to contemplate any action and North-South duly came to rest in four spades.

West led the king of diamonds and South was delighted with the dummy that came down — on a good day, even 12 tricks were possible. Declarer won the opening lead in hand and cashed the ace of spades — West’s heart discard was a sore blow. Now either a successful club finesse or an endplay would be required to land 10 tricks, and South started out on the endplay by exiting with a diamond.

This was not to be declarer’s day. West defended well by winning and shifting to a club, taken in dummy with the king. Declarer again exited with a diamond, but West’s club return forced declarer into the finesse — down one.

A slight change in timing was all that was required to get home. Declarer must allow the king of diamonds to win the first trick. A club shift now does not help the defense as the cards lie, since the long club provides a parking spot for one of South’s diamonds. Assuming a diamond continuation, declarer wins, cashes the ace of spades and, on finding the 3-0 split, cashes the ace of hearts and ruffs a heart in dummy before exiting with a diamond. After winning the club shift with the king, the king of spades and another throws East on lead and the defender must either yield a ruff-sluff or lead a club into the table’s A J tenace.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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