Click to follow
The Independent Culture
It May seem a simple enough point but a surprising number of declarers foozled the play on this deal from a pairs competition. After two passes East opened One Club. Some Souths simply overcalled with One Heart, some doubled, and some (if their methods permitted it) made a strong jump overcall of Two Hearts. However it started, the almost universal contract was Four Hearts by South.

Those declarers who, for some reason or another, escaped a club lead had no problems, but the play was more critical when West started with the queen an another club. East won the second club and led another which declarer, advisedly, ruffed high.

Although it was a good idea to draw trumps it was equally bad to lead low towards dummy's nine. You can see what happened - East won with his ace and led a fourth round of clubs. This promoted his partner's eight of trumps for the set- ting trick.

The more polished declarers - and there were not all that many! - took the precaution of crossing to dummy with a low diamond to the queen before tackling trumps by leading the three. Now East's ace fell on thin air and there was now no problem in drawing the remaining trumps. It was an odd safety play, easily (and often!) overlooked in the heat of the moment.

EAST-WEST GAME: dealer West


] K 9 4 2

_ 9 3

+ K Q 5 3

[ J 7 3

West East

] J 8 3 ] 7 6 5

_ 8 5 4 2 _ A

+ 10 8 7 6 + J 9 2

[ Q 2 [ A K 10 9 6 5


] A Q 10

_ K Q J 10 7 6

+ A 4

[ 8 4