Goren Bridge: Thinking Man’s Play

February 08, 2024 02:51 pm | Updated 02:51 pm IST

Today’s deal is from a team competition. Both tables reached this excellent four-heart contract. The only thing required for success was to hold the trump suit to one loser. That would be routine if the trumps split 3-2 and would be no problem on a 4-1 split if the queen or the nine were singleton, or if East held the trump length. The only real danger was the unlikely possibility that West started with the Q-9-x-x of hearts. That is exactly what the two declarers had to deal with. Could either declarer overcome it?

At both tables, West cashed two high diamonds and shifted to his singleton club, which both declarers won with dummy’s ace. The first declarer led the ace, king and jack of hearts to West’s queen. West exited with a spade to dummy’s ace and declarer had to find a way back to his hand. He tried ruffing a club with the eight of hearts, but West over-ruffed with the nine to defeat the contract.

The second declarer gave it a bit more thought. He took the time to cash the ace of spades before leading the ace, king and jack of hearts to West’s queen. Instead of discarding clubs, declarer discarded the king and queen of spades from dummy. Now when West won with the queen of hearts, he could not prevent declarer from getting back to his hand. Either a spade or a diamond would allow South to win the trick in his hand and draw the last trump. Nicely played!

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