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Today’s deal is from a team of four Swiss where the declarers in both the open and closed rooms failed to find the winning play.
Contract: 4S by south. West leads the D2, lowest from odd.
Bidding comment: Both the NS were playing Precision and the bidding and the opening lead were the same at both the tables.
Analysis: The hand poses no problem if trumps are 3-2.
How the play went: Accordingly, both the declarers won the opening lead in dummy, cashed the HA to pitch the losing diamond from hand. A spade was played to declarer’s king, followed by a spade to dummy’s ace, east showing out on the second trump. Declarer now played a small club from dummy to the jack, king, and ace. West forced declarer with a heart and the roof came down crashing on the declarer.
One declarer went down two and the other four. T.R. Krishnan, a senior player and an wxcellent analyst, demonstrates below how to play the hand.
Correct play: Declarer should realise he cannot afford to be forced. So, he should not cash the HA for pitching the diamond loser. Instead, he should cash SA at trick two and lead the small club from dummy to his king. Let us say west wins and puts partner in with the DK. East cannot play a heart. He can only play a third diamond. Declarer ruffs in dummy to avoid his hand getting shortened. He unblocks CT next, cashes the high trumps in his hand, and runs clubs. He loses a club, a diamond, and a spade.
If west returns a heart on winning the CA, declarer puts up the ace to discard the losing diamond, and proceeds as before. The full deal is:
Discussion: You would have noticed how important it is for the declarers not to avail the diamond discard on the HA. It was the urge to discard that did them in. You will also agree that cashing dummy’s high trump before starting the clubs is another key play in this hand. If west has C A-J-x, he should be careful to duck the first club in order to defeat the contract.
A wonderful and instructive deal, indeed, to illustrate how important it is to retain control in the play of the hand.