Source: Sun Journal – 24 Sep 1992

Dealer East. None Vul

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

Opening lead: 8

Conservative bidding will often keep your side out of trouble, but declarer must still play the cards well enough to wind up with a profit. North was thinking of game when South said 1 spade, but thought again when  East said two hearts, promising a strong six card suit in a hand worth a sound opening bid.

Since North’s doubleton queen of hearts was apparently worthless, he conservatively bid three spades.

Alfred Sheinwold
Alfred Sheinwold

HIGH HEARTS When the defense started with three high hearts, South ruffed with the 9 of trumps and West overrutfed, West got the ace of spades and East the ace of diamonds to defeat the contract.

Instead of ruffing East’s third heart, South should discard his diamond loser.

When East took the A and K of hearts and continued with the jack, South correctly threw his diamond loser. East shifted to a trump, and dummy won with the queen. South ruffed a diamond, finessed with the jack of clubs, cashed the A-K of clubs, ruffed a diamond, ruffed a club, and led a trump. West’s ace was the defenders’ fourth and last trick.

South’s aggressive contract should have failed. Declarer avoided a trump promotion with a loser- on-loser play. Now lets see how the defenders can thwart that strategy.

LOSES TWO TRUMPS East defeats the contract if he cashes the ace of diamonds at Trick Three. When East next leads a heart, South must lose two trump tricks. (If South ruffs with an honor, West discards.) On defense, cash all your winners in the side suits before you try for a trump promotion; otherwise, declarer may prevail with a loser-on-loser play. But not even the best declarer can play a loser on a loser when he has no losers left.