Source: http://www.rpbridge.net

Today’s deal occurred in a secondary event of  the 2009 Fall North American Championships in San Diego, in which most of the participants were average players. The bidding was the same at most tables: North opened with a preemptive bid of three diamonds and South signed off in three notrump.

Dealer North. None Vul

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

Opening lead: 5

At first glance it appears that 11 tricks are available — one spade, two hearts, seven diamonds, and one club; but a closer look reveals the blockage in the diamond suit.

After the club-five lead to the king and ace, the play took several paths. At one table declarer tried to run the diamonds by cashing the ace-king, only to leave four good diamonds stranded in dummy.

At another table declarer did better by ducking the second round of diamonds to East’s queen. This allowed the diamond suit to be run; but alas, the opponents won four clubs and one diamond to defeat the contract.

Is there a solution? Yes

At first glance it appears that 11 tricks are available — one spade, two hearts, seven diamonds, and one club; but a closer look reveals the blockage in the diamond suit.

After the club-five lead to the king and ace, the play took several paths. At one table declarer tried to run the diamonds by cashing the ace-king, only to leave four good diamonds stranded in dummy.

At another table declarer did better by ducking the second round of diamonds to East’s queen. This allowed the diamond suit to be run; but alas, the opponents won four clubs and one diamond to defeat the contract.

Is there a solution? Yes, South should plan to discard one of his blocking diamonds on the club suit. After winning the club ace, South must return a club! If West cashes another club, South discards a diamond and later the diamond suit can be run. If West cagily returns a diamond (an expert play), declarer wins in dummy and leads a club himself to dispose of a diamond. Observe that East-West can win no more than four club tricks and the contract is made.