Source: Ocala Star-Banner – 23 Ago 1980

Dealer North None Vul

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

Opening Lead 4.

When beginners learn to play bridge they are taught innumerable things. Counting hands, finesses, end plays, ducking play and much more. However eventually everything falls into place and , these plays become sort of “automatic”.

When the diagrammed hand was played at a regional tournament in Phoenix, only four declarers out of 13 (in one section) made three notrump.

The bidding was simple and straightforward. It occurred at almost every table. The event was a Masters Pairs. The opening heart lead was covered by the 10 and jack and declarer won in hand with the queen.

All of the unsuccessful declarers made the automatic play at trick two of leading a small diamond and playing low train dummy. If diamonds divide 3-2, almost a 68 per cent possibility, the contract will succeed with an overtrick. These “unlucky” declarers later bemoaned their bad luck when diamonds didn’t break and a heart return killed dummy.

However, these players should have bemoaned their bad technique. All of the successful declarers also realized the diamond suit should be developed. But what if diamonds failed to break? The club suit offered excellent chances if one or both honors were in the East hand. If diamonds break, 10 tricks are available; if the club suit lies favorably there are only nine tricks.