Both vulnerable. South deals.


x10 3

uA Q 7 5

vK 8 4

wA 6 3 2


xQ 9 7 6 2 xK J 8 5

u8 2 u6 4

vQ 10 7 3 vA J 9

w10 7 wJ 9 8 5


xA 4

uK J 10 9 3

v6 5 2

wK Q 4

The bidding:


1u Pass 2NT Pass

4u Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Six of x

Study the bidding and play of this deal, then decide: How many, if any, errors were made during the bidding and play?

North’s jump to two no trump was a forcing raise in hearts, guaranteeing four-card support. South’s leap to game was the Principle of Fast Arrival, showing a minimum opener with no slam interest. A perfectly sound auction.

West led the six of spades, East rose with the king and declarer allowed it to hold the trick. The spade return was taken with the ace, trumps were drawn in two rounds and the king, queen and ace of clubs were cashed. Declarer’s remaining club was played and East was allowed to win the trick, declarer discarding a diamond from hand. East was endplayed. The defender had to either give South a ruff-sluff or lead a diamond toward dummy’s king. Either way, declarer lost only one trick each in spades, diamonds and clubs.

What’s your verdict?

Well as declarer played the hand, there were two errors, both on the very first trick! By applying the Rule of 11 (deduct the spots on the card led from 11 and the difference is how many cards higher than that card are in the other three hands), East can determine that there are five cards higher than the six in the North, East and South holdings, and four of them are in sight. Declarer has only one card higher than the six and it must be the ace since West is unlikely to be underleading that card holding length in the suit! Therefore, East should follow suit with the five! If declarer allows West to hold the lead, West can shift to a diamond honor and the defense nets three tricks in the suit for a one-trick set. If declarer takes the first trick, West sooner or later can gain the lead in spades to shift back to diamonds, with the same result.

However, South should never have allowed the defenders to place him in that position. All declarer had to do was cover the opening lead with the table’s ten and then let East hold the trick and the endplay cannot be avoided.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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