Goren Bridge Society

Find the queen

Partner’s club shortness did not do much for the South hand, but it was still a terrific hand. Slam had to be a decent prospect opposite two key cards and four-card support.

The opening club lead went to East’s queen and South’s ace. The slam was cold if the trumps split 2-1, but what if one opponent held three to the queen? Which high honour should declarer cash first? This is a recurring problem and experts will make that decision, when there is nothing to go on from the auction, by looking at the rest of the hand. Is there a way to save the contract should one opponent have a sure trump trick?

The correct play on this deal is to cash the ace of hearts first. Why? Because the spade suit might still save the contract if there is a trump loser, and you can handle a 4-2 spade split when it is East who has three hearts. After the bad news in hearts, South cashed the king of spades and led a spade to dummy’s ace, followed by a third spade. Should East follow, South ruffs and has enough entries to dummy to set up an extra spade winner even if the suit splits 4-2. Eventually, South will be able to discard his losing diamond on a spade.

Should East have only two spades he will be helpless. If he ruffs with his high trump, South will discard his diamond. Should East discard instead, South can continue to set up the extra spade trick the same way, always discarding his diamond if East ruffs.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 3:29:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/find-the-queen/article35621832.ece

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