Source: IBPA Bulletin Feb 2018

Dealer South. N/S Vul

J 8 5
K 6 5 2
A 6 5
K Q 5
4
9 4
K J 10 8 3
A J 10 9 4
Q 10 9 7
Q J 10 7
9 4
8 6 2
A K 6 3 2
A 8 3
Q 7 2
7 3
West North East South
1
2NT1 3 Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass Pass
Pass

1. At least 5-5 in the minors

The game was matchpoint pairs and this particular West was incapable of passing on two-suited hands such as the one he held. North cue-bid in diamonds to show a limit raise or better in spades and went on to game when his partner signed off.

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

West did not want to lead either of his minors, fearing that to do so would cost a trick. As a singleton trump is usually an awful choice for the opening lead, that left him selecting the nine of hearts to begin the play. Declarer took this in hand with the ace to lead a club.

West played low and dummy’s queen won the trick. After returning to hand with a low trump to the king, declarer led a second club. West rose with the ace of clubs and exited with a club to dummy’s king.

Declarer threw a heart from hand and now had to decide how to continue. If West had a second trump, then it would be difficult to succeed unless the queen of trumps was a doubleton.

Instead, declarer went with the odds (as there were more hearts outstanding than spades) and cashed the king of hearts. When West followed with the four of hearts he was marked with an original 1=2=5=5 shape. This meant East had started with 4=4=2=3 distribution.

Declarer’s saw that his only hope was to make the jack of trumps by reducing his trump length to two, one fewer than the number East now held. So, declarer ruffed a heart low then crossed back to table with the ace of diamond to ruff a second heart, reducing everyone to four cards. Then declarer exited with the queen of diamonds.

West took this with the king and tried to cash a second diamond. Alas, for the defence, East had only the queen-ten-nine of trumps remaining, and had to ruff the third round of diamonds and then lead a trump, ensuring that dummy’s jack of trumps would make a trick.

Declarer took three trumps, two hearts, two heart ruffs, a diamond and two clubs for a total of ten tricks.