Both vulnerable. West deals.


x10 9 7 6 5

uA 8 6

vA 9 8

w7 5


xVoid x8 3

u7 5 4 2 uQ J 10 9 3

vK 7 2 vJ 10 6

wA K J 10 9 2 wQ 8 3


xA K Q J 4 2


vQ 5 4 3

w6 4

The bidding:


1w Pass 1u 1x

4u 4x Pass Pass


Opening lead: King of w

If there is one gift experts possess that sets them apart from the average player, it is judgment. Add to that sound technique and it confers a considerable advantage.

The bidding was sound all around. Despite having a minimum opening bid in terms of point count, West’s distribution gave the combined holding considerable trick-taking ability, and the raise to four hearts was sound tactically. Similarly North, with two aces and five-card support for partner’s suit, would not be shut out of the auction and competed with four spades as a two-way shot — it might make or it might be a cheap sacrifice against four hearts.

West collected the king and ace of clubs and then shifted to a heart, won perforce in the closed hand. Declarer’s problem was to hold his diamond losers to one. This was complicated by the fact that West’s opening bid and jump to game in hearts almost certainly marked that defender with the king. Declarer found a neat way out of the impasse.

South drew two rounds of trumps, ending in dummy. The ace of hearts was cashed for a diamond discard and a heart ruffed high, stripping that suit from both declarer’s hand and dummy. A trump to the ten provided the entry to the table to lead the eight of diamonds. East covered deceptively with the jack, but declarer was not to be deflected from his reading of the position. East was allowed to hold the trick. Since a heart or a club would allow a ruff-sluff, permitting declarer to discard a diamond from either hand while ruffing in the other, East was forced to return a low diamond. Declarer followed low and the contract was home when West, as declarer expected, produced the king.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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