North-South vulnerable. South deals.


xK 8 4

u7 6 3

vA J 8 3 2

wQ 2


xJ 7 6 xQ 10 9 3 2

uK 8 2 uQ 9

vK 6 5 vQ 10 7 4

wJ 8 6 4 w9 3


xA 5

uA J 10 5 4


wA K 10 7 5

The bidding:


1u Pass 2v Pass

4w Pass 4u Pass

4NT Pass 5v Pass

6u Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Five of v

Almost every bridge book counsels a defender to play “Third hand high” and “Second hand low.” Like any other maxim, that is true most of the time. Once in a while, however ...

This is the bidding that occurred in a Poland-France clash at a World Championship. At the other table the French were content to play in four hearts. Declarer won the diamond lead in dummy and led a low heart to the nine, ten and king. Declarer ruffed the diamond return and cashed the ace of hearts, felling the queen. Leaving a trump outstanding, declarer played off the high clubs, then ruffed a club on the table to set up the remaining club. South came to hand with the ace of spades, drew the remaining trump and claimed the rest, scoring two overtricks.

The Poles had their bidding boots on and climbed to six hearts. Play started the same way. However, when declarer led a low heart from the board at trick two, East ignored the wisdom of ages and inserted the queen! Suddenly, the slam was unmakable.

If declarer abandoned trumps and started on clubs, East would be able to overruff the third club for the setting trick. If, instead, declarer continued with a second trump, West would win and play a third round, and now declarer would be unable to ruff a club and would have to concede a trick in that suit. Down one no matter what.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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