East-West vulnerable, North deals


xA J 10 4

u7 5

vA 3

wA K Q 9 3


x7 6 5 2 xK 9 3

uK Q 9 8 uA 10 4 2

v9 6 2 vQ 8 5

w7 2 w8 6 4


xQ 8

uJ 6 3

vK J 10 7 4

wJ 10 5

The bidding:


1w Pass 1v Pass

1x Pass 1NT Pass

3NT All pass

Opening lead: King of u

The success of many contracts, especially no trump contracts, comes down to guessing the location of a key queen.

The king of hearts lead was greeted by an encouraging 10 from East. The defense cashed the first four heart tricks, ending in the West hand, while dummy discarded two spades. West shifted to a low spade and declarer had to guess what to do. A good defender, holding the king of spades, will reason that a spade shift is always right when partner holds the queen and it might put declarer off the winning spade finesse when declarer has the queen.

Not trusting the spade shift and having a diamond suit with possibilities, South put up dummy’s ace of spades and rattled off five rounds of clubs, coming down to the singleton jack of spades and the ace doubleton of diamonds in the dummy and the king-jack-10 of diamonds in his hand. East was stuck for a discard on the last club. Had he discarded a diamond, South’s diamonds would take the last three tricks. Hoping that his partner held the queen of spades, East parted with the spade king and declarer, who had not discarded the queen of spades yet, claimed the rest.

Note that if West indeed held the king of spades, declarer could succeed by guessing the location of the queen of diamonds. A simple finesse would do if East held the queen. Should West hold the queen, he would have the same discarding problem that East had -- an impossible problem for West to solve.

Tribune Content Agency

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