Source: IBPA Column Service APR 2022

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

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

Opening lead: A

West led the ace of hearts and, once that held, continued with the queen of hearts, which East ruffed. Declarer took East’s king of clubs return with dummy’s ace in case East had begun with six clubs. Declarer then paused to form a plan.

As declarer would always have ten tricks if diamonds were three-two, he turned his attention to dealing with a four-one split. The only hope then would be if East held at least four clubs; in that case, declarer would have to make sure to isolate the club menace in East’s hand. Accordingly, declarer continued with a low trump to his king.  After cashing his queen of trumps, declarer led a club. East won and exited with the jack of diamonds, rather than help declarer by playing another club.

After winning with his ace of diamonds, declarer led a low trump to dummy’s ace and ruffed a club back to hand, reducing East to holding the guards in both minors. Now declarer led the jack of trumps and threw a low diamond from dummy. What could East do? It was a three-card ending and East could not keep both three diamonds and the queen of clubs. In practice, East threw a diamond and declarer had the balance with three diamond tricks.

East would have done no better exiting with the jack of diamonds at trick three. Declarer would have won in hand, drawn trumps and ducked a club. After taking a second diamond exit in hand, a trump, discarding a diamond from dummy, would have left East with no winning option.

The damage to the defence was not done at trick three – it was at trick one! Any non-heart lead would have seen the defenders prevail.

The complete deal:

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

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