Source: The Daily Reporter – 15 Jul 2003

While sitting at the bridge table, if you do one thing on a regular basis, the game will be much easier — what is it? This deal highlights the technique.

Dealer South. E/W Vul

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

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

Opening lead: Q

You are South, the declarer in four hearts. West leads the diamond queen. How would you plan the play?

Phillip Alder
Phillip Alder

South might have rebid two diamonds, but decided to emphasize his excellent major suit. (Over two diamonds, North should rebid two hearts. Then, South would probably continue with three hearts, and North would go on to game. This sequence may have persuaded West to lead a lethal trump.

First, count your possible losers. There are two in diamonds and three in clubs. Next, count — that word again! — your winners. You have nine: one spade, six hearts and two diamonds. What will be your 10th trick? You could try your luck in clubs, but it is much better to hope for either a 3-3 diamond split or a diamond ruft in the dummy. Win the first trick with dummy’s diamond king, discard a club on the spade ace, and call for a diamond.

If East ruffs in, you will probably go down after a club to West, another diamond ruff, and a second top club. When East follows suit, though, win with your ace and concede a diamond trick. Here, East discards. The defenders may take two clubs, but you win the next trick, ruff your last diamond with dummy’s heart queen the ruff in the shorter trump hand providing the key extra trick, and draw trumps. Note that if West initially leads his low club, your diamond losers would disappear on dummy’s spade ace and 10.