Bridge Hand Of The Week

Timing is everything

Feb 23, 2015
Dlr: South Vul: E-W
10 6 4 2 A J 5 2 Q 3 K 5 2

A K 7 5 7 3 A J 10 A 9 6 3
West Pass Pass
North 24
East Pass All Pass
South1NT 2

Against your spade game, West leads the 3, suggesting that he might have held a doubleton in the suit. You win East's 9 with the ace. How do you proceed from there to get to 10 tricks?


After winning the opening lead, declarer played without much thought, crossing to dummy with the K to run the Q. West won this with the king and exited with his remaining trump. Declarer took East's jack with his king and cashed two diamond winners, discarding a club from dummy.

Next, he cashed the A and ruffed a club. All would have been well if clubs had proved to be 3-3, but they were not. After East had discarded a diamond, declarer could do no better than to play the A and another heart. East took the trick with the 10 and cashed the Q, leaving declarer with a losing club as the fourth defensive trick.

When South complained about his bad luck, North was unsympathetic.

"You should have played a low heart to the jack at trick two," he said. "East would have won to play a second trump to your ace. Next, you'd cross to dummy with the K to run the Q to West's king. Having no more trumps, West could have done no better than to exit with a heart to dummy's ace.

"You would continue with the A and J, discarding a club from dummy. Then you'd play the A and ruff a club in the dummy, on which East would discard a diamond as there would be no advantage in overruffing with the master trump. Then you would get back to hand by cashing the A and ruffing a heart. Lastly, you could ruff your fourth club in the dummy. You would lose only a trump, a heart and a diamond." The full deal:

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

A K 7 5 7 3 A J 10 A 9 6 3