Declarer came up with an unusual play in the deal shown below from an IMP match. It was unusual in that such a play is generally considered a crime and a sin. See if you can match declarer's fine play.

Contract: 5D by south. West leads the C3. East wins with the ace and returns the club five to his partner's king. A third club is played to dummy's queen, east following suit. Plan the play.

Bidding Explanation: North's bidding suggested six diamonds and four spades with game forcing values. South jumped to game to indicate a minimum. If he had held four trumps and a maximum hand with controls, he would have bid 4D, as a mild slam interest.

Analysis: For you to have any chance, diamonds need to be 2-2. It also appears that you would require the spade finesse for the contract.

Play: Declarer ruffed the club queen! He ruffed a heart next, cashed the diamond ace in dummy, and played a diamond to the king in his hand. Luck was with the declarer for diamonds were 2-2. Declarer cashed H A-K to pitch two spades from dummy, and ruffed a heart. When the hearts broke 4-4, he entered his hand through spade ace to pitch dummy's losing spade on the thirteenth heart! The complete hands were:

Discussion: You would have noticed, declarer fails if he takes the spade finesse. If the hearts turn out to be 5-3, declarer can fall back on the spade finesse.

Correctly diagnosing that he would be an entry short for enjoying the winner heart, declarer created the extra entry to his hand by perpetrating the crime of ruffing his own winner...and was rewarded.

In the closed room, receiving a heart lead against 3NT, declarer ducked a diamond to provide for a 3-1 break. When the spade finesse lost, declarer went two down!

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Keywords: Bridge