Contract bridge: Awareness of card position demands attempt at simple endplay
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A contract of four-of-a-minor is not the ideal way to start a new year of bridge, but declarer turned it into a great result for his side.
Following West’s strong 1NT opener and East’s transfer to hearts, South decided to intervene. West freely completed the transfer and North, perhaps assuming that 3H would make, bid 4C. When West led A♥, 3H looks in jeopardy so, now, succeeding in 4C had become essential.
West switched to Q♠ at trick 2, won in dummy. Declarer then led a trump and happily beat East’s K♣, following with Q♣. It is now clear that West holds A♦. How can declarer avoid losing three diamonds?
With West marked with almost all the remaining high cards, declarer set about trying to seal him on lead, so that neither East, nor the declarer himself, had to tackle diamonds. He cashed his other top spade, noticing that West dropped 10♠, and decided to play West for ♠QJ10 exactly. So, declarer led a third spade from dummy and, instead of trumping, he discarded 5♦.
The result was perfect. With no spades remaining, West is forced into playing a red suit. If he leads K♥, declarer trumps, crosses to dummy’s 10♣, and uses Q♥ to discard 8♦ from hand, or if West leads a diamond, this limits South’s loss to just one trick out of the two remaining in the suit.