Monday 22 September 1997
4K 10 7 3
!J 10 4
#A K 8 7 5 2
4Q 2 4J 9 8 6 4
!A Q 9 7 6 5 !8 3
#6 4 #10
2Q 9 2 2A 8 6 4 3
#Q J 9 3
2K J 10 7 5
Five Diamonds would have been a straightforward affair on this deal, but over-scientific bidding led South straight to Three No-trumps. It looked as though he had nine easy tricks, but he suffered the indignity of watching his dummy being squeezed.
South opened One Club, West overcalled with One Heart, and North doubled negatively. Apparently this was the only way he could suggest a four-card spade suit, but to my mind there seems little wrong with a natural Two Diamonds. With a guard in hearts, South tried One No-trump and, on the strength of his concealed suit, North raised to Three No-trumps.
Instead of leading a heart, which gives declarer an easy nine tricks, West made the inspired choice of 4Q. Declarer won in hand, took six rounds of diamonds and then, judging the opening lead to have been from a short suit, cashed 4K before exiting with a heart to West's queen.
If West had held 2A, this play would have been sufficient, but when West led a club to East's ace, dummy, holding 410,7 and !J,10, was squeezed and the defenders took the rest of the tricks.
The best way to tackle this hand after the spade lead is to enter dummy with a diamond and run !J. Now the ninth trick can be established before the defenders can come to more than two hearts, one spade and one club.
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