Both vulnerable. South deals.


xA J 10 6 5

uQ 4

vQ 10 4

w5 3 2


xQ 7 4 2 xK 9 3

u9 8 6 3 u10 2

v9 7 6 3 2 vA K J 5

wVoid wQ 9 8 7



uA K J 7 5


wA K J 10 6 4

The bidding:


1w Pass 1x Pass

2u Pass 2NT Pass

4u Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Three of v

Study the diagram above. Assuming reasonable play and defense, would you rather try for 10 tricks at hearts or opt to defeat the contract?

Since South’s reverse of two hearts showed additional values, North’s two no trump was eminently sound, as was South’s decision to give North a choice of games by leaping to four hearts, showing at least six clubs and five hearts. Although North decided to gamble on the major-suit game, we would have corrected to five clubs because of our three-card support for partner’s longer suit.

West led a low diamond, declarer played low from dummy and the jack won. The king of diamonds was ruffed, trumps were drawn in four rounds and the ace of clubs was led. West’s diamond discard was a mortal blow. With only one entry to the table in the ace of spades, there was no way for declarer to pick up the clubs and the contract foundered hopelessly.

Obviously, the contract can be made along double dummy lines if declarer crosses to dummy with the queen of trumps and immediately takes the club finesse. West can ruff, and the defenders will score at most two hearts and a diamond. But that will look very foolish if West holds a singleton queen of clubs and trumps are 4-2 as expected.

Better is for South, after ruffing the diamond at trick two, to cash no more than one high trump from hand and then test clubs by leading the ace. West can ruff and revert to diamonds, but declarer ruffs, crosses to the queen of hearts and takes the marked club finesse West again ruffs, but that is the final trick for the defense. Since all the defenders trumps have been exhausted while South still holds one, the defenders cannot prevent declarer from winning any return, crossing to the ace of spades and repeating the club finesse. The contract is home with five trump tricks, four clubs and the ace of spades.

Hard work to achieve the same result as would have been obtained, with the greatest of ease, in five clubs, thanks to the revealing lie of the cards.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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