Sunday, October 21, 2012

In the right order

The contract is 4 -- play or defend?

Want to defend? It looks like the defense can lead spades and tap declarer. After drawing trumps, South takes a diamond finesse and clears that suit. The defense leads a spade and makes declarer use his last trump. When in with the A, East has good spades to cash.

Declarer can make the contract, but he has to be careful. After ruffing the spade at trick two, Declarer draws only two rounds of trumps. Then he must take the diamond finesse and cash the ace. Can he now draw trumps? No. Can he lead a third round of diamonds? No. He must now lead the K. Let's say East wins (ducking doesn't matter) and leads a spade. South ruffs and gives up a diamond. West has no more spades, so returns a club that is taken with dummy's queen. Now declarer draws the last trump and cashes his diamond tricks.

In all, declarer took five hearts, four diamonds and one club. To get these tricks, he basically has to take them in the order specified above. Easy when you think about it. Not so easy at the table.

This was played at a club game in Raleigh NC. Thanks to Xwing who sent me the deal. You can see it as board No. 3 at the RBC web site here and click on Oct 16, 2012 - Tue H Sec R. You can see the matchpoints here and click on Oct 16, 2012 - Tue Eve Sec A.


  1. Is this the way you hone your game...watching such setups and looking at all the possibilities? It would make a lot of sense to me.

  2. you rely on the fact that the opponent who wins the diamond has no spades left.
    Is it not more elegant to draw no trumps?
    Ruff 2nd trick. Take diamond finesse and play king of clubs.
    Now opponents will lead a spade which you ruff.
    Now take diamond ace and diamond.

    NOW it doesn't matter who wins this. If opponents tap you with another spade you have a high cross-ruff.
    If opponents play trump you can win in hand, draw trumps and claim.

  3. @Leon: thanks for your comment. There are many ways to come to the same ending. In fact, at trick three, you can lead ANY CARD in your hand and still make it. Having said that, you are right that your line is excellent -- good eye!