Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WATCH ON PRESTO - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

Some­times one can find the right line on a hand sim­ply by not­ing which things are im­me­di­ately bad and avoid­ing them rather than com­plet­ing some deep anal­y­sis. This is one such hand to­day. The auc­tion quickly ar­rived in that com­mon match­point con­tract of 3NT and West led a fourth­high­est the six of spades. As only 14 high­card points were in the de­fen­sive hands, de­clarer saw that it was all but cer­tain that West held all three of the miss­ing aces.

De­clarer was about to play low from dummy when he saw that if he did so, West would grab the first round of di­a­monds to play the ace-jack of spades and then de­clarer would have only eight tricks be­fore he had to lead hearts. West would take the ace of hearts im­me­di­ately and cash two win­ners for a one trick set. So, avoid­ing the first er­ror, de­clarer called for dummy’s king of spades. He then crossed to hand with the ace of clubs to lead a low diamond to­wards dummy.

As the cards lay, if West rose with the ace and played on spades de­clarer would be safe as he would still have a spade stop­per when the time came to de­velop a trick in hearts. This avoided the sec­ond er­ror which would be to let West cap­ture a diamond hon­our with the ace. Lead­ing small cards to­wards high cards was all that was nec­es­sary. In prac­tice, West played a low diamond on the first round and dummy’s jack won the trick. Dummy’s king of hearts came next. West took this with his ace and re­turned a heart to de­clarer’s queen. Next, de­clarer cashed the queen of clubs and then led a sec­ond low diamond to dummy’s king. The 4-1 diamond break was a dis­ap­point­ment but not a real prob­lem. De­clarer just cashed the king of clubs and the jack of hearts for his sev­enth and eighth tricks and saw West show out in both suits. All that re­mained was to exit with a low diamond from hand. West took the ten and ace of di­a­monds but then had to give de­clarer his ninth trick by lead­ing away from his ace of spades.

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