Source: IBPA Column Service APR. 2019

IMPs Dealer North. Both Vul

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

This deal came up in a team game. At both tables, the auction was as shown above and the opening lead was the jack of hearts at each table. It was obvious to both declarers that, if trumps were 2-2, then ten tricks would be easy and, if they were 4-0, then the contract would fail.

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

Both declarers won the opening lead with the ace of hearts and, to try and improve their chances against a 3-1 trump break, each crossed to hand with a trump to lead a low diamond towards the queen. Both West players rose with the king of diamonds and then placed the queen of trumps on the table.

The less-experienced declarer took this in hand with the king of trumps and led a low diamond to dummy’s queen. He continued with the ace and another club. East won the trick with the jack and exited with a low heart, with West’s ten forcing dummy’s king. When declarer tried to return to hand with a club ruff, West overruffed and led the five of hearts to East’s queen for the setting trick.

At the other table, when East discarded a club on the queen of trumps, declarer saw the danger of taking the king of trumps. It would have left him with no fast entry back to hand after cashing dummy’s queen of diamonds. So, he allowed the queen of trumps to hold the trick. If West had continued with the jack of trumps, declarer could have won, unblocked the queen of diamonds and eventually got back to hand with a club ruff to discard a heart on the ace of diamonds.

A heart ruff in dummy would have been the tenth trick. In practice, West shifted back to hearts, leading the ten. Declarer won with dummy’s king, cashed the queen of diamonds, then came to hand with a trump to the king. All that remained was to discard a heart on the ace of diamonds and ruff a heart. Declarer had ten tricks: four trumps, two hearts, a heart ruff, two diamonds and the ace of clubs

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