IBPA Column Service example 863

Dealer West. Both Vul.

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

The Auction:

West North East South
1 2 Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Pass

After this rather agricultural auction, West led the jack of hearts and dummy’s queen held the first trick.

Declarer placed West with all of the missing aces and kings on the bidding and, if he played on clubs immediately, he would make only eight tricks.

So declarer crossed to hand by playing the 6 to his 10 and led a diamond. If West played low the king would win and he would then turn his attention to making three club tricks.

West saw that it was likely that declarer was trying to steal his ninth trick with the diamond play and so rose with the A and continued with the king of hearts.

As his opponents were playing five-card majors, declarer won with the ace of hearts and played a second diamond towards dummy. When West followed with the four of diamonds declarer covered it with dummy’s eight.

East won the trick with the J and switched to a club. Declarer rose with ace of clubs then claimed ten tricks. He made three spades, two hearts, four diamonds and a club.

If West had played low on the first round of diamonds, declarer would have been held to nine tricks. In effect, declarer caught West in a Morton’s Fork by playing a diamond at trick three.

As the opening bid had placed West with all of the missing high-value honours, you should note that playing on diamonds would have succeeded when East had a singleton or doubleton queen or jack of diamonds (the former by an endplay). Further, it also would have won when East had held exactly three diamonds.

* A Morton’s fork is a is a type of false dilemma in which contradictory observations lead to the same conclusion.