Source: IBPA Bulletins; 2000 March

Marc Smith reports a deal from the marathon England Trials (seven weekends) to select teams for the Camrose and next Europeans. Smith asks: Would You Find the Winning Defense? At two of the ten tables, Chris Dixon and Marc Smith, South, created the problem for their respective Wests with an unusual opening bid. The auction, and the play to the first trick were identical at both tables.

Dealer South. None Vul

North

7 5
K Q J 7 3
8 3
Q 4 3 2

West

Q J 8 3
10 8 2
J 9 6 5 2
7

West North East South
6
Pass Pass Dbl Pass
Pass Pass

Both Wests led the queen of spades, which held. What would you do at Trick 2? In reality, both Wests continued with a second spade. Both are now wiser. They also know the score for conceding Six Clubs Doubled… It’s -1090. Here are the other hands:

7 5
K Q J 7 3
8 3
Q 4 3 2
Q J 8 3
10 8 2
J 9 6 5 2
7
K 9 4
A 9 6 5 4
A K 10 7 4
A 10 6 2

Q
A K J 10 9 8 6 5

Had dummy’s club spots been slightly better, declarer could have won the opening lead with the ace of spades, crossed to the queen of trumps, ruffed out the ace of hearts and returned to dummy to throw his diamond loser. With the 4- 3-2 of clubs in dummy, that was not possible, and thus he had to duck the opening lead. Should West find the diamond switch?

Yes. Declarer can hardly have two losing spades. A heart loser cannot run away. The danger is that a diamond loser may go on dummy’s hearts. Should East play K at Trick 1? Not really. A speculative Q lead, without the jack, should be more likely than West will fail to switch to a diamond on the actual layout.