Friday 28 June 1996
South opened 1NT (16-18 points) and North launched a Gerber enquiry with 42. The reply of 4! showed one ace and North's 52 apparently asked for kings (though how he could now play in 52 if that were the right contract is a mystery to me). The 5NT reply (three kings) was joy to hear, and North plunged to 7NT.
The lead of 410 did declarer no harm and he could now see 12 top tricks. After winning with the jack, however, he immediately tested the hearts. The fact that the jack did not fall in three rounds was a minor irritant - there were still many chances - but he realised belatedly that he had no good discard from hand. You've guessed it: he parted with a diamond, leaving only his original 12 tricks.
Before tackling the hearts, South should have tested a minor, it did not matter which. If he had selected diamonds, he could have claimed at trick four. If he had chosen clubs, he would have found the 4-2 division and, after cashing his spades, could part with what was now known to be a losing club on the third heart.
Yes, there were undoubtedly squeeze possibilities, but this seems a nice, simple approach and declarer's actual play led to certain defeat as the cards lay.
N-S game; dealer South
!A K 10 9 5
#A Q 9
2A Q 7
410 9 8 3 4Q 6 4 2
!7 6 !J 8 4 2
#J 6 5 #10 8 3
2J 10 4 3 28 6
4A K J
#K 7 4 2
2K 9 5 2
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