Source: IBPA Column Service FEB 2021

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

**Source: wikipedia: Tim Bourke “is an Australian bridge player and writer. His joint project with Justin Corfield “the Art of Declarer Play” won the International Bridge Press Book of the Year award in 2014.

IMPs Dealer West. Both Vul

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

West led a fourth-highest four of hearts. Declarer played quickly, without any real thought. He called for a low heart from dummy and took East’s jack with the ace, noting that he still had a stopper in hearts as long as the hearts were five-two.

Alas, that proved not to be good enough for, when he played a spade, as he had to, it was East who won the first trick in the suit. The heart return was not a welcome sight. West was able to play king, queen and another heart to set up his long card in the suit. Since declarer had to concede a trick to West’s ace of spades at some point, that player was able to cash a heart winner to defeat the contract.

A simple plan would have saved the contract on this layout. Declarer allows the jack of hearts to hold at trick one. When East continues with the eight of hearts at trick two, declarer plays the nine as a matter of routine in an attempt to mislead West about the layout of the suit. If West wins and plays a third heart, declarer wins and plays the jack of spades.

Now, when East wins his king of spades, he has no heart to play. Declarer can win the club shift in hand and play a second spade. West wins the ace of spades but declarer is in control; he loses only two spades and two hearts. West cannot have all four high major-suit honors and have passed initially.

The only danger to the contract would have been if West had shifted to a club from the queen and/or jack-third or -fourth at trick three. Then East, upon gaining the lead with a high spade, could have led a second club through declarer. That layout and defence would have garnered two spades, two hearts and one club for the defence.

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