Source: IBPA Column Service Jun 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 South. E/W Vul

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

This was a straightforward power auction to the best contract. West led the queen of spades. After dummy appeared, declarer noted that the maximum number of tricks available to him was 12, and then only if he could make five clubs tricks.

Declarer was a careful player and decided to gain as much information as possible about the defensive hands before tackling clubs. As he would always have to lose a spade trick, declarer let the queen hold the first trick. After winning the spade continuation with the king, declarer cashed the ace of spades followed by his three heart winners.

This revealed that West had begun with five-five in the major suits, making it highly unlikely that West had three 11 clubs. Declarer turned this into a certainty about West’s maximum possible club holding by cashing the ace of diamonds: once West followed with a diamond he could have at most two clubs. So, declarer led a low club from hand to dummy’s king. When West discarded a spade, declarer claimed 12 tricks on the marked club finesse.

Of note is that even if both defenders had followed to the three top hearts, declarer’s best play would still have been a low club to the king on the first round of the suit, since the spade break had marked East with more vacant spaces than West.

The complete deal:

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

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