Both vulnerable. South deals.


xQ J 7

uA Q J 7 6

vQ 8

w8 7 4


xK 10 8 5 2 x6 4 3

u9 3 u8

vA 7 4 vJ 10 9 3

wA 9 3 wK J 10 5 2


xA 9

uK 10 5 4 2

vK 6 5 2

wQ 6

The bidding:


1u 1x 4u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Nine of u

A competent declarer will force the defenders to make crucial plays as early as possible in the hand, before critical information has been obtained. Defenders must be on their toes to provide partner with the clues he needs to make the right decisions.

According to the Law of Total Tricks, a 10-card trump fit should produce play for 10 tricks. Despite North’s 12-point count, the hand might not contribute much in the way of defense and the leap to four hearts is a two-way tactic. Note that a winning guess in clubs will allow East-West to make nine tricks at spades — 10 if the defenders don’t get diamonds started early enough.

Declarer won the first trick in hand and immediately led the nine of spades, West winning with the king as East contributed the three. The hand already is at the crossroads. Unless West can find the right minor suit to lead, the contract will slip through. At the table, West shifted to a low club, and the defenders took two club tricks and a diamond for down one. Lucky guess?

Not at all! West trusted his partner to signal in which suit there was a possible winner, and the three of spades indicated the lower of the two unplayed suits, in this case clubs. The same result might have been obtained had West shifted to the ace of diamonds and then read East’s three as negative (South, of course, should false card with the five or six) and switched to clubs. Still, in one of the world’s most prestigious pair events several pairs allowed declarer at four hearts to slip through with 10 tricks!

2013 Tribune Media Services

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