Monday 26 April 1999
North opened One Diamond and, perhaps rather feebly, East passed. South responded One Heart and North raised to Two Hearts. This was East's last chance to join in (as you can see, his side could have made Five Clubs) but he passed and South jumped to game, ending the auction.
West led 2K against Four Hearts and, when this held, continued the suit although a spade switch might have been more purposeful. Declarer ruffed and laid down !K. If both opponents had followed, he planned to finesse !J on the next round of the suit. If East had then been able to win with the queen, he could not profitably attack spades and South's losing spades would have gone away on the long diamonds.
There was, however, a tiny hitch. West proved to hold all four missing hearts and, after the king had been cashed, was bound to come to a trump trick. Now there was plenty of time to switch to spades and declarer ended by losing one trick in each of the four suits.
To cater for this possible 4-0 trump break, South should have led !10 at trick 3 and taken a first-round finesse. Superficially this looks a dangerous play as it risks an adverse diamond ruff but in practice the risk would be slight. If West had held a singleton diamond he might well have led it or tried it at trick 2; if East held the singleton, surely he would have overtaken his partner's 2K and switched.
East-West game; dealer North
4A Q 7
!A J 3
#J 10 9 7 3
49 8 4K 6 5 3 2
!Q 6 4 2 !none
#A 4 #8 6 5
2K Q 10 3 2 2A J 6 5 4
4J 10 4
!K 10 9 8 7 5
#K Q 2
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