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This was Board 6 in Thursday’s (17 May) duplicate and was an interesting test of technique for N/S!
East Dealer, E/W vulnerable
SolutionTo Problem 021
The full deal
Dealer East, E/W Vulnerable
No matter what the contract, or whether it is played by North or South the key for declarer is to bring the spades in for no loser.
For the defence to have any chance whoever is on lead must start with a heart and East must take his ace and switch to a club, resisting the temptation to try and give his partner a ruff! Having cashed his two club winners West must now continue clubs, trying for a trump promotion.
Declarer has already lost 3 tricks and must play West for the spade king to have any chance of his contract. He must ruff with the jack, when East discards instead of overruffing declarer knows the position. Now he enters dummy with the diamond queen and runs the ten of spades, picking up the trumps. The North hand is now good.
Note that, as the cards lie, if declarer carelessly ruffs the third round of clubs low East still cannot overruff, but now the trumps are blocked. However declarer can retrieve the position after finessing once in trumps by cashing the diamond ace and then ruffing a winning diamond to create an extra entry to the South hand.
Presumably East starts with either the jack or eight of hearts. Declarer must recognise the danger of a club switch and can’t afford to duck. His best chance is to win the heart and bring in the spades for 4 tricks to go with his 4 diamonds. Again he crosses to dummy with the diamond queen, takes a deep breath and runs the ten of spades, when that holds he runs for home.
Two interesting points for the defence:
If declarer ducks the first heart they are put to the test, first East must instantly switch to a club and then, if declarer ducks that as well, West must win his jack and put his partner back in with a heart to the ace to lead another club through the dummy. If either defender cashes two ticks in his suit they cut communications and the defence can only come to 4 tricks.
If East finds the miracle opening lead of a club (Perhaps an alert West doubles a stayman 3 clubs from South?) declarer has no play for his contract.