Source: IBPA Column Service Jul 2018

Dealer South. E/W Vul

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

South was one of those players who invariably accepted an invitation to bid game. West led the king of clubs. East overtook this with the ace and returned the 3, with West’s nine winning the trick. After cashing the queen of clubs, West continued with the ten of clubs. East discarded a second diamond and declarer ruffed. Declarer paused to assess the situation.

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

The first consideration was which defender to play for the queen of trumps. Declarer saw that if he chose West as the designated holder of that card he would probably need to make four tricks in spades too. As that required a little bit too much luck, declarer decided to play East for the trump queen.

So, declarer began by cashing the king and ace of spades and ruffing a spade. After cashing the ace of diamonds and ruffing a diamond low, declarer ruffed a second spade in hand, reducing himself to the ace and jack of hearts plus a diamond. Now, after ruffing his remaining diamond with dummy’s king of trumps declarer led a low trump and covered East’s seven with the jack.

When that held, declarer had ten tricks: two spades, five trumps, a diamond and two diamond ruffs. Note that if declarer had decided to play the ace of diamonds and ruff a diamond before playing on spades, he would have had to lead dummy’s low trump and finesse against East’s queen next. Then declarer would have cashed the king and ace of spades and ruffed a spade, reducing himself to the ace-jack of hearts and a diamond – the same position as above.