Friday, April 9, 2010

Play or defend?

At a club game, each North-South pair played 4. Would you rather play or defend on this deal:

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

At one table, West led the J. Declarer won and led a trump. West played two rounds and exited with another heart. Declarer won the A and ruffed a heart. He then led to the Q and led another from dummy and ducked. If West had a doubleton ace, South would have two discards for clubs. As it was, he had to lose two spades, one diamond and one club -- no good.

At the second table, South won the heart lead in hand and played another to dummy's ace. A third round was ruffed. Declarer now led a trump. West cashed both the A K, then exited with a low diamond (the 9 works, too). Again declarer had to lose four tricks.

At the third table, South improved on the line of play taken at table two. He won the heart lead, led another and ruffed a third round. Next, he led a diamond to the Q, and only then led a trump. West took his two high spades, but was endplayed.

So, declarer can always make it, right? The answer is no. West has to lead the A and the K at tricks one and two. Then he can exit with a heart and the contract can no longer be made.


  1. I'm still confused. Did Josie win?

  2. I love those hands where you have to choose which side of the fence you should be on. Thanks Dave.

  3. Thanks for showing those set of hands. Love your blog always with great storys or interesting anecdotes.

  4. Check out your area...there might be a Tijuana Flats somewhere nearby...I know they are in several southern states.