Both vulnerable. South deals.


x9 6 5 3 2

uK 5

v9 5

wA Q 9 3


x8 7 x10

uQ J 10 9 uA 6 4 3 2

vQ 10 7 2 vJ 8 6 4

w10 7 2 wK J 6


xA K Q J 4

u8 7

vA K 3

w8 5 4

The bidding:


1x Pass 3x Pass

4x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Queen of u

Study the diagram above. Would you rather play or defend four spades after the lead of the queen of hearts?

South has something to spare for continuing to game after partner’s invitational jump raise, and the final contract is normal.

Suppose you elect to play. You cover the queen of hearts with the king and East wins with the ace. The heart return is taken with West’s nine, and the defender shifts to a club. Dummy’s nine is inserted, East’s knave wins and a trump is returned. Eventually you have to take a club finesse. Down one.

Don’t give up yet — you can do better! Do not cover the queen of hearts at trick one. West continues with another heart. East captures the king with the ace, but has no way to get to partner’s hand. Win any return, draw trumps, cash the top diamonds and ruff a diamond. Return to hand with a trump and lead a club, simply covering any club West plays. East wins but is trapped in an endplay. Making four-odd. Suppose West shifts to a club at trick two? If you play low or finesse the queen, the defense prevails. East wins the club, cashes the ace of hearts and exits safely with either a trump or a diamond, and eventually collects another club for down one.

Nevertheless, declarer should always have the last word. After ducking the first trick, win the club shift with the ace, draw trumps, cash the top diamonds and ruff a diamond on the table. Now exit with the king of hearts. East wins, but is trapped in a similar endplay. South cannot lose more than one club trick.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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