Source: IBPA Column Service OCT 2018

Dealer South. Both Vul

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

In a team match, after South had opened with a 20-21 point two-notrump bid, raised to game, both West players had led a fourth-highest two of spades.

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

The first declarer played low from dummy without apparent thought. After winning the trick with the king of spades, East paused to consider his options. As he had ten points and dummy seven, then, with the advertised twenty or so on his left, it suggested that West had at most three points.

It seemed to East that there was thus little future in spades: the defence might be able to take one more trick in the suit if partner had the queen and either the jack or the ten. However, that would not defeat the contract.

East decided that it must be a better shot to play West for three or four clubs and a red-suit king or the club queen. So, after cashing the king of clubs, he continued with a low club.

Declarer won the trick with the queen of clubs, then crossed to dummy in hearts to run the jack of diamonds. West took this with the king and continued with a club. East won that trick with the ace of clubs and a club to West’s ten defeated the contract.

At the other table, declarer did not immediately play to trick one. He wanted to plan the play first. Declarer counted eight tricks: the ace of spades, four hearts and three diamonds.

While a ninth would come from one of the black suits, declarer saw the danger in playing low at trick one: if East had the king of spades, he could shift to a club at trick two, something declarer would not welcome.

Accordingly, declarer called for the ace of spades at trick one and ran the nine of diamonds at trick two. West won the trick with the king of diamonds and declarer claimed the contract: the defenders could take a spade and two clubs but that was all. South would make the ace of spades, seven tricks in the red suits and a ninth trick in a black suit.