Source Eugene Register-Guard – 18 Nov 1971

The sort of hand shown today is never misplayed by the true experts but is often mishandled by quite successful tournarnest players.

Dealer South Both Vulnerable

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

Openning Lead 5

West opens the five of hearts, and East puts up the king. I blush to report that many a successful tournament player would win the first trick with the ace of hearts. This play cannot gain, but may lose.

South is sure of two hearts and four diamonds, so needs three tricks in the black suits. South must knock out both of the black aces, and his contract depends on guessing which as to knock out first.

Alfred Sheinwold
Alfred Sheinwold

If South begins with the spades. East takes the ace of spades at once and leads his other heart. South cannot gain by refusing the trick, for West will overtake and return a third heart to force out the queen. South cannot make nine tricks without the clubs, but as soon as South leads a club.

West steps up with the ace of clubs to defeat the contract with the hearts.

South can make his contract by a good guess. If declarer leads clubs first. West win take the ace of clubs but then has no further entry for the hearts. How does South know that he must lead clubs before spades?  There is no sensible way. South makes his contract only if he is a good guesser.

Declarer can make his contract without guessing if he refuses the first heart trick. East leads another heart, and South wins with the queen. Now South is safe no matter which black ace he knocks out. If South leads spades. East cannot continue the attack on hearts. South therefore has time to develop the clubs while he will has the ace of hearts to stop the long suit.