Brian Senior
Brian Senior

This deal from the first session of the quarter-finals saw the majority of those who played in 3NT on the N/S cards making their contract. Of those who failed, the majority got the diamonds wrong. E/W had always bid and supported spades and the normal opening lead was therefore a spade from West.

Where declarer won the first trick and played a club, West needed to rise with the ace and return the queen of hearts. Even with the aid of Smith Peters, or in this case the lack of a Smith Peter, that is not an easy defence to find, and I do not believe that anyone found it. However, what about the tables where declarer played on diamonds at trick two?

Board 8 Dealer West None Vul

8 2
K 9 7
A J 10 8
K J 9 2
10 4 3
Q 8 4 2
Q 3 2
A Q 5
Q J 9 7 6
A J 10 5

8 7 6 4
A K 5
6 3
K 9 7 6 5 4
10 3
West North East South
Myers Brock
Pass 1 1 2
2 3 Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Pass

Like most Wests, Barry Myers led the three of spades to the jack and ace. Declarer played the king of diamonds, unblocking the ten, and Sally Brock discarded the queen of spades and, when declarer continued to play on diamonds, followed that up with the nine then seven of spades.

By transferring protection of the spade suit to partner, Sally was able to keep her heart holding intact, along with one club and one spade, and make it crystal clear to partner what was required in the defence. Declarer cashed all the diamonds plus the [K, then led a heart and ducked it to Sally, who led her club to Barry. He cashed the ten of spades then led the queen of hearts and that was down one.

In the Mixed Championship, Romania’s Marina Stegaroiu and Marius Ionita also defeated 3NT after a spade lead and declarer playing on diamonds. Ionita discarded all his clubs then the six and seven of spades, and when declarer ran out of diamonds and led a club up, Stegaroiu rose with the ace and played the queen of hearts, again down one.

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