Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLE - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

Play­ing in a teams con­test, games are bid ag­gres­sively and not a few of them re­quire good play. In this hand, East opened a weak 1NT and South’s in­ter­fer­ence re­moved any science from the auc­tion. West dou­bled to bring both ma­jors into con­sid­er­a­tion and, when East showed the heart suit, West bid the game. Since the spade and di­a­mond suits are not at­trac­tive, the lead seems to be a trump or club and one might avoid the club since the 1NT bid­der is more likely to hold the KC. Af­ter a trump lead, the con­tract is easy to make as the cards lie, los­ing only one club and two spades. As it hap­pens, the AC lead is much more dy­namic. Since ev­ery­one can see the KC on ta­ble, part­ner will sig­nal nat­u­ral count rather than at­ti­tude. It is easy to con­tinue with the QC to the king and a ruff. Look­ing at dummy, it is clear to switch to a small spade ( promis­ing an hon­our) and de­clarer will rise with the ace. It is dif­fi­cult to see where ten tricks can be made while avoid­ing two spade losers.

For there not to be two spade losers, the suit needs to be blocked and South needs to be stripped of all red cards be­fore be­ing end­played. Thus, de­clarer needs to play AD, trump to hand, di­a­mond ruff, draw last trump, ruff a club, and exit a spade. Then when South wins the KS, he has only clubs left and dummy can ruff while de­clarer sheds the last spade. While the line of play might seem dif­fi­cult to find, it is forced upon de­clarer by the need to avoid los­ing two spades. There are two more wrin­kles though. The de­fend­ers can beat this line if South can man­age to play the KS un­der the AS so that North can win two spade tricks when de­clarer tries the spade exit. Fur­ther, if South misses this chance, de­clarer must not play the QD and ruff a di­a­mond be­fore ex­it­ing with a spade be­cause South gets two more chances to dis­pose of the KS be­fore it em­bar­rasses him! Dis­pos­ing of the KS needs South to re­al­ize that con­tract can only be de­feated if North has the SQ10.

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