This week’s hand showcases excellent thinking by one defender, but it exposes how declarer could have denied his opponents the chance to shine.
South’s protective 1NT overcall showed 11-14pts; North raised keenly to 3NT. West led K♦. When East played 9♦ and South ducked, West formed a picture of the deal: East’s failure to play A♦ or J♦ marks South with ♦AJ3. Declarer’s duck freezes the suit. East has little, but West estimated that he might hold Q♠, so he switched to 3♠. Dummy played low, East won with Q♠ and returned 6♦, breaking open the diamonds. Now, when South lost the club finesse to West’s K♣, West could cash diamond winners to defeat the contract by three tricks Declarer should not duck trick 1. The doomed club finesse is into West, so South’s ♦J3 is protected.
East-West hold 14pts; West holds As; Q♠ could be in either hand. So, South cannot risk a spade switch or he risks losing three spades, K♦ and K♣ — or, as happened, ♠AQ, four diamonds and K♣.
Instead, he wins trick 1 with A♦, cashes four rounds of hearts ending in dummy and takes the club finesse. When this loses, if West leads a spade, dummy can rise with K♠ and cash his clubs, while if West cashes Q♦, J♦ is as an extra trick for declarer too.
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