Source: IBPA Bulletin Aug 2013

MP Dealer North N/S Vul

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

Opening Lead Q

What would be your plan for 9 tricks?

The South hand becomes quite tricky when partner opens with a pre-empt of three diamonds. One approach is to use Roman Key Card Blackwood immediately, intending to bid six no trump if North admits to two key cards. (This protects the South hand from a club lead and allows the hearts to be established in safety.)

As this was played in a pairs event, South decided to be conservative and responded three notrumps. As it turned out, this modest contract was no better than five diamonds and was not an easier contract to make. West led the queen of spades and declarer could count only seven tricks if he played on hearts immediately.

If the queen of diamonds was played at trick two and it held the trick, that would be eight tricks, still notenough.

Then declarer saw that the best way to try to make nine tricks was to make sure that dummy won the first diamond trick. So, after winning the first trick with the king of spades, declarer played the queen of diamonds and overtook it with dummy’s king.

As East could not afford to win with this with ace, this held the trick. Declarer now used this entry to dummy to finesse the queen of clubs. When this won, declarer had five tricks outside of hearts and declarer switched his attention to the heart suit.

As four tricks were guaranteed there, his contract was assured.

The 4 hands were:

9 5
9
K J 10 9 8 4 2
9 6 4
Q J 10 8 3
A 6 4
7 3
10 8 3
7 6 4 2
7 5 3 2
A 5
K 7 5
A K
K Q J 10 8
Q 6
A Q J 2