Source: IBPA Column Service Jan. 2019

Dealer West. E/W Vul

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

After South’s slightly pushy jump to two spades, North had an easy raise to game. West had a routine opening lead of the king of hearts.

Declarer took this with the ace, ran the nine of trumps, and was both surprised and disappointed when it lost to East’s king. East exited with the nine of diamonds. After some thought, declarer decided that East was very unlikely to hold any of the unseen high cards, so he rose with the king of diamonds and led a club to the jack and queen.

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

After cashing the ace of clubs, declarer ruffed the eight of clubs with his jack of trumps, while West discarded a heart. Declarer led a trump to dummy’s ten, then cashed the queen of trumps. Declarer paused to consider the situation. West had started with three trumps, five hearts and two clubs so he had an original 3=5=3=2 shape.

As West had discarded a heart on the third round of clubs he must have three hearts and two diamonds remaining. So, declarer advanced the ace of spades and threw a heart from his hand. West threw a heart – a diamond seemed pointless – and was then put on play when declarer exited with a heart. After cashing his remaining winner in hearts, West was forced to exit with the ten of diamonds.

This was run to declarer’s jack for the game-going trick. Notice that, if declarer had won the diamond shift on the table, he would no longer have been able to make his contract. Simply put, there would not have been sufficient entries to draw trumps, ruff a club and cash the ace of trumps.

Of course, if he had made the technically inferior move of leading a low trump at trick two he would not have faced this difficulty on the diamond return at trick three.

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