Looking for Inspiration

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

You are playing in a knockout team game and quickly bid to a vulnerable game. West starts with the ♠10. How do you like your chances to bring them contract home?

Click for Solution

The auction and the lead, the ♠10, were identical. At both tables, the ♠J was covered by the queen and king (neither declarer wanted a heart shift at trick two – a live possibility if the spade lead was ducked.

The first declarer played the 5 to the 2 and ace at trick two. When East discarded the ♣2,
declarer no longer had the entries to make four tricks in diamonds, so he ducked a club at trick three. Alas, the original 5-1 break in that suit meant that the defenders were now sure to make five tricks, thereby defeating the contract.

The declarer at the other table was a wily veteran. When he led the 5 at trick two and West played the 2, he called for dummy’s 4. Just like that, declarer had had nine tricks: two spades, a heart, four diamonds and two clubs.

The question asked in the post mortem was, “Was the second declarer’s play likely to be best over a hundred deals?” The answer was that, if it wasn’t, then it was barely so, but it was hard to argue with the successful declarer since it won the match for his side. The full deal:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
N-S
North
♠ A J
7 5 4 2
A Q 4
♣ K 9 8 6
West
♠ 10 9 8 6
K 8 3
J 10 7 3 2
♣ 4
East
♠ Q 7 4 2
Q 10 9 6
♣ Q J 10 7 2
South
♠ K 5 3
A J
K 9 8 6 5
♣ A 5 3