Back to Florida
This deal comes from a frequent source of material for me: the Wednesday South Florida IMP team game. South was in fourth seat holding:
♠ A ♥ K Q J 10 8 6 ♦ K 3 ♣ 10 9 8 6
After three passes, he opened 1♥. Left-hand opponent overcalled 1♠ and after a negative double, RHO raised to 2♠. South bid 3♥, which North raised to 4♥. The ♠J was led:
Declarer won the ♠A and played the ♥K. RHO took the ace and played a low diamond to the ♦K and West’s ace. West cashed the ♦Q and tried a third diamond to East’s 10, declarer ruffing.
Declarer drew trumps (West started with two) and crossed to the ♣A. He ruffed a spade (all following low) and led the ♣10, low …?
Both declarers went with the odds – eight-ever, nine-never – and finessed. This was the Real Deal:
As you can see, playing for the drop was the winning action. Should declarer have done so? With the facts as stated, yes. Beware when a bridge column (or any deal, for that matter) starts with three passes. West has shown up with 10 points: He is known to have the ♠K J from the bidding and play, and has shown the ♦A Q. That leaves no room for ♣Q x x. He would have opened the bidding holding: ♠ K J 10 x x ♥ x x ♦ A Q x ♣ Q x x.
Note that East should have followed with the ♠Q on the second round of the suit, simulating a holding of ♠K Q x and leaving open the possibility that West’s lead was from ♠J 10 x x x.