Source: IBPA Bulletin Sep 2017

Dealer North. Both Vul

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

At one table where this deal occurred in Round 19, West led the seven of diamonds. Declarer played low from dummy and took East’s ten with the ace. At trick two, declarer led a low trump. West rose with the ace of trumps and exited with the five of trumps. East won the trick with the king and got off play with the ten of hearts to declarer’s queen.

Declarer cashed the ace of spades at trick five then crossed to the dummy with a diamond to the king (West threw a club). Next he played the king and queen of spades throwing two clubs from hand. As the spades did not break, declarer played dummy’s club to his king. West took the ace and queen of clubs to set the contract.

There was no hurry to cash the queen of spades: instead, declarer needed to find out how the spades were breaking without releasing that card. So, after cashing the king of spades, declarer should have ruffed the eight of spades.

This would have revealed that West had begun with 5=2=1=5 shape, making it 5-to-3 that the ace of clubs was on declarer’s left. So declarer should then have played with the odds and cashed his remaining trump, discarding the six of diamonds from dummy and reducing everyone to four cards.

West would have had to keep two spades and the ace-queen of clubs. Declarer plays the nine of diamonds to dummy’s queen and West has to throw a club, probably a fatalistic queen. A club to the king and ace would then have seen West left on play with the jack-nine of spades alone. Declarer would have won the last two tricks with dummy’s queen-ten of spades.