Games: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
Declarer was delighted to receive the lead of the queen of diamonds in 3NT as he assumed this assured three tricks in the suit as, in the light of the bidding, West was marked with all the outstanding points. A moment's less euphoria and a little more thought would have brought his contract home.

West opened 1NT (15-17 points), North doubled and East ran to two spades. South, deciding that the vulnerable game was likely to be worth more than the non-vulnerable penalty, bid Three No-trumps.

Without apparent thought, South won West's lead of the queen of diamonds with the ace, his only sure entry to his hand. He continued with a low heart, West played an honour and dummy's ace won. Next he unblocked the ace and king of spades and followed with the jack of hearts from dummy, hoping to create an entry to his hand with the 10 - but West held off. Declarer played another heart and West, in with the king, exited with a diamond. South duly made three diamond tricks, but now there was no way to reach the queen of spades, and the defence ended with two clubs, two diamonds and a heart trick.

As West was known to hold all the high cards, South should have concentrated on preserving the entries to his hand. The easiest way would have been to win the opening lead with dummy's +K, cash ]A K, then lead a low heart to the 10. If West ducks this, declarer can now cash ]Q, then continue playing on hearts. Should West take the heart, he probably does best to exit with one. But he can easily be end-played later - one way being to run the [J when in dummy after cashing the hearts.