Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting the news

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

North-South wore rose-colored glasses, and bid to an optimistic 6. West led the Q taken in dummy with the ace.

South could see that he needed the trump finesse and no bad splits to make his slam. Five spade tricks, five hearts and two aces add to 12 tricks.

Declarer led the Q and another to his jack. Next he led the 2 to dummy to repeat the trump finesse. He cashed the A, drawing the last trump, and led the Q. When East showed out, the slam could no longer be made.

Where did declarer go wrong? Let's go back to trick four. Declarer should have led the Q to the ace (instead of the 2). Now, after East's trumps are extracted, declarer plays the J, getting the news. The heart suit now runs after a finesse to the 9.

Should declarer know to do this? East could have had four hearts, after all. If so, South can't do anything about it. Besides, because East has four trumps, he isn't as likely to hold four hearts as well.


  1. Your analysis is right on. Hands like this come up more often than people realize, and good players routinely make the best play in cases like this.

    Many times it is for naught other than practising good technique, but once in a while it matters - like here - and the dividends are handsome

  2. @R Taylor: Thanks for the comment. This is a good deal because most players would miss the right play, yet can see why the recommended play is correct when it is shown to them.