Good Decision

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: North ♠ A 10 9 2
Vul: All 5 2
K 9 5 2
♣ A Q 6
♠ 8 7 6 ♠ K 4 3
J 4 A Q 10 9 8
J 10 8 4   7 6
♣ 10 8 4 2 ♣ 7 5 3
♠ Q J 5
K 7 6 3
A Q 3
♣ K J 9
West North East South
1 1 3NT
All Pass

Opening lead: J

East overtook the J lead with the queen as South ducked. East continued with the A and the 10 to declarer’s king as dummy discarded a club. Despite a combined 29 high-card points, there was no sure route to nine tricks. There were chances, however.

South started by cashing the ace, queen, and king of diamonds. He was hoping for a 3-3 split, or a possible “restricted choice” finesse should East play the 10 or jack on the second round. East didn’t oblige and then discarded a low spade on the third diamond. South cashed the ♣A, overtook the ♣Q with the king, and cashed the ♣J, East following to all three rounds.

South had a decision to make. He had to assume that the ♠K was off side from the auction. Had East started with 3-5-2-3 distribution, as seemed likely for his discard of a spade on the third diamond? Or perhaps East had started with 2-5-2-4 distribution and discarded his low spade early, leaving himself with a singleton king. That would have been a clever play on his part, and would foil an attempt by South to end play him.

Declarer decided that if East had been that clever, he would pay off to him. South went with the percentages and exited with his remaining heart. East could cash another heart trick, but then had to lead away from his ♠K. Well played!