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Game all; dealer North


4A Q

!A K 6 4 3

#Q J 10

2Q 8 5

West East

4K 7 6 5 2 410 8 4 3

!9 7 5 !Q J 10 8

#4 2 #K 6 5

2A J 9 26 3


4J 9


#A 9 8 7 3

2K 10 7 4 2

It would be fair to say that declarer chose the right cards to play in his contract of Three No-trumps on this deal. The trouble was that he played them in the wrong order. What improvement can you suggest?

North opened One Heart and, rather than hazard a response at the Two level, South bid One No-trump which North raised directly to game.

West led the five of spades against Three No-trumps and, to South's relief, the queen held. He followed with the queen of diamonds which won, but East covered the next diamond lead and blocked the suit. It would not help South to duck, for East would simply clear the spades, so he won and cashed the 10. Next he tried the queen of clubs from the table but, needless to say, West held off and with no entry to hand, declarer was held to eight tricks.

Try altering the sequence of play. After the queen of spades has won, lead the queen of clubs at once. Suppose West wins and clears the spades; now the diamond suit brings in five tricks as South has an entry with the king of clubs. If instead West allows the queen of clubs to hold, declarer starts on diamonds. The difference is that he now needs only four tricks from the suit and, when East covers the first or second round as before, South can counter by allowing the king to win.