Saturday 24 April 1999
After two passes East opened One Diamond and South overcalled with One Heart. West passed, North raised to Two Hearts, and South jumped directly to game. Well, you or I would have led a diamond against Four Hearts ("Partner's suit! What else?") but now the play is easy for declarer. Whatever East returns at trick 2, it is straightforward to ruff two clubs in dummy, with a diamond ruff available for a quick re-entry to hand. No, from somewhere or another, West found a trump lead.
Now declarer had problems. It was easy enough to win, cash the top clubs and take one ruff on the table, but now, when declarer led a low diamond from the table, East won with his jack and returned a second trump. South won in hand and drew the last trump, discarding a diamond from dummy, and led a low spade. West played low; declarer put in the seven.
East got it right when he unblocked by winning with his queen, instead of the nine, and returned the nine. When declarer played low, so did West; the nine was allowed to hold. Now it was all over - the spades broke 3- 3; South's losing club went away on the long spade.
What could West have done? The play in the spade suit was critical. First, when South started the suit by leading low from hand, West could have played his jack. If left on lead, he can cash his jack of clubs; if dummy wins with the ace, there is no entry for declarer to reach the long spade. Well, that was difficult, but later on, when East returned the nine of spades, West could again have played his jack with the same effect.
Love all; dealer West
4A 8 7 3
!Q 9 2
#K 7 6 4
4J 4 2 4K Q 9
!8 7 6 !5 3
#10 5 2 #A Q J 8 3
2J 10 7 4 2Q 9 2
410 6 5
!A K J 10 4
2A K 6 3
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
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