Learning From Mistakes

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

Against your notrump game, West leads the Q. What is your best plan for getting to nine tricks?

Solution

This deal is from an intermediate class on entries. West led the Q, and all of the declarers failed to make the contract. All four took the first trick in hand with the king and thereafter did not have the entries to make the contract (thanks to the teacher’s instructing West to take the ♣A on the third round of the suit). In the review, the teacher explained that declarer should make four tricks in spades, two in hearts and three in clubs, provided that the entries were used appropriately.

The teacher continued by pointing out that if declarer is to make certain of three club tricks, he may need a side-suit entry to cash an established club winner. So, considering that the spade suit will need to be unblocked if declarer is to make four tricks when the suit is not 3-3 (as expected), the only late entry to the closed hand will be in hearts. Accordingly, the teacher pointed out that the first trick must be won with dummy’s A. The next move must be to cash three spade winners in hand, followed by a low club to dummy’s 10.

After cashing the ♠K and throwing a low diamond from hand, declarer continues with the ♣J. When that holds, declarer plays a third club to the queen and West’s ace. West now shifts to a diamond. East wins the trick with the A and switches to a heart. Declarer rises with K and cashes the ♣K: He makes four spades, two hearts and three clubs for a total of nine tricks. The full deal:

Dlr: South ♠ K 7 4 2
Vul: Both A 7 6
Q 6 5
♣ J 10 2
♠ 9 3 ♠ 10 8 6 5
Q J 9 5 8 4 3
K 9 8 A 10 4 2
♣ A 9 8 3 ♣ 6 4
♠ A Q J
K 10 2
J 7 3
♣ K Q 7 5