Friday, May 16, 2008

Declarer was in a hurry

Playing at the local bridge club last night, South dropped the ball on this deal:

Q 7 6 3
9 7 6 5
K Q 3
10 5
4 A 9 2
4 K Q J 8 2
A J 10 8 7 9 6 4
K Q 9 8 6 4 7 2
K J 10 8 5
A 10 3
5 2
A J 3

West North East South
2NT 3 All Pass

West led the Q (Rusinow leads) won by declarer's ace. South led the J at trick two.

East won the ace and returned a club to West's K. East now shifted to the 4. Declarer won his ace (it might be better to duck one time), drew trumps and led a diamond to dummy's K.

At this point he was stuck in dummy and had to lose two hearts tricks, along with a spade, a diamond and a club for down one. Where did he go wrong?

The defense had been friendly. Declarer should not have been in such a hurry to pull trumps. After he wins the heart shift, he should lead a diamond towards the K Q x in dummy. The best West can do is duck. South then draws trump with the K 10, and leads another diamond. After West wins, the Q is an entry to discard a heart on the good Q. His nine tricks are four spades, one heart, two diamonds and two clubs.

Can the hand be set if declarer plays best? The defense can always prevail if West leads her singleton on opening lead; East gets in with the ace of spades to cash two heart tricks. After the club lead, the defense can still prevail. When West wins the A and returns a club, a third round of the suit also defeats the contract. Declarer must ruff the club with the Q, but now has no entry after he sets up a diamond discard (as long as West ducks once).

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