Source: “Play Bridge with the Aces”

“The grave’s a fine and quiet place, but no one there will cash his ace”

Can the hand be made, or must it go down to defeat?

Dealer South N/S Vul

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

Opening Lead: 4

West dodged the disastrous spade lead, and led 4. East play Q and South refused the trick, playing his 2.

East continued with the K, which South ducked again, and East cleared the suit. Declarer knocked out the A and then took his top tricks for his contract, one spade, three hearts, four diamonds and one club.

West said, “If you had shifted to spade at trick two, we would have defeated the hand”

East agreed, “Yes, I had two chances to do so, I coul have also done so after winning the second club”

South entered the discussion with, “If you had shifted to spades, i would have played low, allowing West to win his J. However, he could not continue the attack on spades”

West countered, “I would have returned to the attack on the club suit and we would have taken one spade, three clubs and a heart.

Who do you bet on, the declarer or the defense?

If you bet on the defense, you were worng, unless, of course, you can force South to duck the first club. Assuming West’s lead to be a true fourth best, South should have taken the first club trick. Dislodging the heart ace would have limited his losses to three clubs and one heart.

South’s automatic duck gave the defense a chance, and he was fortunate that East did not find the winning defense.