Dealer East N/S Vul
Q J 9 8 6
10 8 7 4
J 8 7 6 5
J 9 6 5
|A 9 8 7 3 2
A 9 2
|K Q 6
K Q 4
A 10 4 2
K Q 3
I was in the West position when this hand was played and led the 10 of my partner’s call. The J was played from dummy. When my partner played the ace and returned the suit, I knew at once I had been robbed by him of the only tempo-value I had.
Declarer was in with the Q and played his ace and another diamond. I was in with the king, and having now no spade to lead. I had to guess which was the better side-suit to lead. I led heart.
If East plays the ace, declarer gets home with two spades, two hearts and four diamonds, if East ducks the heart lead, South will make three or four no-trumps by entering dummy with a diamond and attacking East’s ace of clubs.
East explained that he did not duck in the spade suit as I might not have another spade to lead, in which case South would have four to the king and queen when the proper play was to cover the Jack and lead out 9.
“Beside which”, he added, “I had two entries”. True, East had two entries, but it is often forgotten that in using side-entries you do so frequently at the cost of developing tricks for the opponents.
If declarer had four spades he is almost sure to make contract since he is marked with most of the high cards no exposed to East’s view.
East should therefore duck and hope his partner had another spade and possibly an entry. With the duck in spades contract is easily defeated, defenders making four spades, one diamond, one heart and one club.
Declarer has no time, if, as is assumed, he develops the diamond suit, to set up either in hearts or clubs any further tricks. The loss of one valuable tempo cost the defence two tricks and incidentally the contract.