Goren Bridge: Interesting hand

Published - June 13, 2024 09:02 am IST

Today’s deal is from a recent tournament in Europe. The given auction is a little obscure, but many pairs reached six diamonds, presumably after different auctions. A club slam might seem better but note that a club slam would quickly fail after a diamond ruff.

What would you lead against six diamonds with the West hand? Many players led the ace of spades. Declarer had no trouble from there, ruffing in dummy and knocking out the ace of diamonds. Should they need an entry to hand in order to finish drawing the trumps, the jack of clubs was the key entry. The contract also made easily on a heart lead. Several West players cleverly led a low spade from their ace. Declarer could have made the slam by discarding from dummy, but they naturally ruffed and the slam was defeated. West’s ability to hold up his ace of trumps was crucial to the defence.

Only one West player, Karol Lohay from Slovakia, found the killing lead of the five of clubs. It might seem silly to lead a singleton when there is no chance that partner will gain the lead. A club ruff would be impossible. The lead killed declarer’s jack of clubs entry before he was ready to use it. Lohay ducked the first two trumps, won the third, and led the ace of spades. Declarer ruffed in dummy, but could not get to his hand to draw the last trump. Nice lead!

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