When you bid like a cowboy, you’d better play like the king of the rodeo. South claimed he had to catch a flight and could not afford to waste any time in the auction, but better excuses have been made for lesser overbids at your club and ours every day.

Dealer West. E/W Vul

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

Opening Lead: K

Declarer took West’s K with the ace and led a low trump, catching the bare ace. West switched to a club, six, nine, ace. Declarer played the A and when the jack dropped, continued with the Q to West’s king. By now declarer knew the layout of the whole hand, but East’s Q108 of trumps seemed certain to produce two tricks for the defence; if declarer led the jack from dummy, East would cover and have the ten-eight to deal with declarer’s nine.

Beverly Kraft & Eric Kokish
Beverly Kraft & Eric Kokish

Back came a second club. Declarer did not need a third club trick to discard a loser so the finesse would appear to be a needless risk. In order to reach a winning end position, however, he saw that a third club trick was needed to discard . . . a winner. Although East’s apparently impregnable trumps could not be neutralised with brute force or a simple finesse, declarer had two ways to get home from this point.

Choosing the more elegant, he won the J, ruffed a diamond, crossed to the 10, and ruffed another diamond, stranding the K. With his trumps shortened to the same length as East’s, declarer led the 6 to the jack. East won the queen and did his best by playing his remaining club. Declarer discarded his winning spade, won dummy’s king, and showed East the king-nine of trumps. Although dummy was out of trumps, either a spade or diamond lead at trick twelve would coup East’s ten-eight of trumps.

Declarer was showing off. He could have avoided the last roundup equally well by simply cashing the K after the jack won, discarding a spade. Then, diamond ruff, spade to the ten, diamond ruff, trump to the jack and queen. East, with ten-eight of trumps, would have to lead one. Declarer, with king-nine remaining, would take the last two tricks by finessing.