Monday 22 December 1997
West opened One Diamond and, with plenty in reserve, South decided to show his five-card major rather than double. North called Two Diamonds, showing a high-card raise to at least Two Spades and South caught up on his previous underbid by jumping to game.
West led #K against Four Spades, East signalled with his jack and, with no hope of avoiding a diamond loser, South held off. He won the diamond continuation and drew two rounds of trumps with the queen and the ace. The 4-1 break was an irritant and declarer realised the need for caution. The bidding strongly suggested that the club finesse was wrong, so he continued with a heart to the queen, leaving a trump in dummy to protect him from a force in diamonds.
On the heart lead, however, East signalled with his nine and West shrewdly held off, to leave South in an awkward position. If he reverted to trumps, he would be forced; if he tried anything else, East would score a heart ruff. As a result, the contract failed.
Suggestions? South was right to abandon trumps, but he must take the club finesse before touching hearts. If West wins, he cannot force; and if he ducks, South can draw trumps and establish two hearts tricks.
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