North-South vulnerable. West deals.


x10 9 7

uJ 10 9 3

v8 5 3

w7 3 2


x8 4 x6

uA K Q 7 5 u8 6 4 2

vQ 10 9 vK J 7 4

wK 10 9 wQ J 8 5


xA K Q J 5 3 2


vA 6 2

wA 6 4

The bidding:


1u Pass 2u 4x

Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of u

A set of circumstances conspired to victimize West on this deal. Had we held the West cards, the result would have been the same.

The auction was simple enough. As the cards lie, three no trump would have been laydown, but we defy anyone to get there. Also, at this vulnerability, a sacrifice at five hearts might have come into consideration.

West was on lead against four spades, and to lead anything other than a heart, a suit headed by the three top honors and supported by partner, did not cross West’s mind. After the most normal of leads, declarer was quick to seize the one chance that guaranteed the contract.

The opening lead was ruffed high in the closed hand and dummy was entered with nine of spades. The jack of hearts was led and, instead of ruffing, declarer discarded a diamond from hand. West won with the queen and shifted to a diamond.

Declarer won with the ace, crossed to the table with the ten of trumps and led the ten of hearts, discarding his remaining diamond and setting up the nine of hearts in the process. West took the ace and shifted to a club. Declarer won, crossed to the seven of spades and pitched a club on the good nine of hearts.

South still had to concede a club, but there were 10 bankable tricks — seven spades, two minor suit aces and the nine of hearts! Any lead other than a heart would have sunk the contract. Try it.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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