Source: Morehead on Bidding.

Dealer West. None Vul

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

West opened the J, and South won with the A. South them laid down the J. So far, declarer plus the various people who later essayed to make the contract all played the same.

The question concerns South’s next lead. Declarer didn’t do right. He led the 5 to dummy’s king. Then suddenly realizing that if the hearts did not break 3-2 he would not have enough entries to dummy to establish the heart suit and get back to run it, he tried to cash the ace and king of hearts. East ruffed the second round of hearts and declarer was down one.

It didn’t matter, anyway: South might just as well have gone down on the fifth trick as on a later one. Once he took the second round of spades he had thrown away the grand slam.

South was a good player, and his downfall should be attributed to careless in the face of an apparent abundance of wealth rather than to inability to figure out the proper line of play. After he took his licking, he showed the declarer’s and summy’s hands to several of his expert friends, and only about half of them played so as to make the contract.

Albert H. Morehead
Albert H. Morehead

Yet the proper play is quite obvious when you stop to consider. If the hearts break no worse than 4-1, it is perfectly safe to cash a high heart. A 5-0 heart break is too remote a possibility to guard against. Therefore the ace of hearts should be cashed at trick three.

Having got this round of hearts through, South proceeds to take a second round of trumps, leading to the king. When the trumps do not break, he makes his contract absolutely safe by leading the king of clubs and discarding his King of hearts. Now he ruffs a low heart with the Q, not caring whether the suit breaks or not; draws the last trump with  a lead to dummy’s A, and ruff another heart with the last trump.

Dummy is left with an established heart suit and the 8 for entry. Thirteen tricks are in.

Albert Hodges Morehead, Jr. (August 7, 1909 – October 5, 1966) was a writer for The New York Times, a bridge player, a lexicographer, He wrote The New York Times bridge column for more than 25 years

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