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An ill-advised penalty double enabled declarer to play the hand, from an eight deal Chicago, double-dummy, as it were.

Contract: 4H by south. West leads the DJ.

Analysis: The double suggests that east has all the five remaining trumps and so you have four losers; two in trumps, one in spade, and one in club.

How the play went: Declarer won with the ace, east following with the nine to show even number of diamonds. A spade was played from dummy. East went in with the ace and exited in C2, an obvious singleton. West followed with the jack and declarer won with the ace. Declarer successfully finessed the HJ next and west showed out, as expected. He cashed two diamonds now, pitching a club from hand. Declarer cashed two more spades, both defenders following suit. The last five-card position was:

Declarer played the SJ from hand and discarded a club from dummy.

If east ruffs and plays the H7, declarer can run it to the nine in dummy and finesse the HQ for his tenth trick. If he ruffs and plays the HT, declarer finesses the queen, and exits in a club. Any return by west now, will trap his partner’s HK. If east elects to discard on the SJ, south exits in a club. East will be forced to ruff his partner’s winner and lead the HT, thereby allowing declarer to finesse the queen and claim ten tricks. The complete hands were:

Discussion: There were some interesting points in play as well as the bidding:

North opened with 1D and not 1C though he has three cards in each of them. On four-triple-three hands with the four-card suit being a major, it is advisable to open 1D if there is a two-honour disparity. Like, for example, S A-Q-x-x H J-x-x D K-Q-J C x-x-x. Don't you want partner to lead a diamond should the opponents buy the contract?

West should have passed the second time too. His suit is ratty and he does not have a single trick to offer by way of defence. The 2C bid actually instigated east to double the final contract. Though you can’t fault him entirely for the double, east should have remembered that his partner had originally passed his hand.

If both east and west had remained silent, as they should have, declarer would have had no chance whatever of making his contract.

It was good play by the declarer to tackle spades, the side suit, at trick two.

The defence could not prevent the endplay after declarer discarded a club from hand on the diamond winner, and a club from dummy on the fourth spade. Spectacular finish!

3NT would have been a lot easier!



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