A simple auction led to the correct contract on this hand. Responder showed a negative hand with 2D and then the artificial 3C bid showed a very negative hand. West led the ace of clubs which declarer ruffed and then played the ace of trumps. East’s discard was a nasty shock and now declarer had to try and ruff a heart in dummy. He cashed the ace and king of hearts and then led the five. West ruffed this with the nine of trumps then crossed to East’s hand with a diamond to the king. After ruffing the fourth heart with the jack of trumps, West exited with a diamond to East’s ace to set four spades by one trick. As ever, North was not sympathetic to declarer’s cries of bad luck. Can you see what declarer should have done to cater for this layout?
Declarer should have discarded a diamond at trick one. His aim should have been to surrender the two diamond losers early. If the defenders played a club at trick two, he should pitch a second diamond. Teams, Both vul, Dealer South
If an unlikely heart shift came at trick two, he should win, cash the ace of trumps and, seeing the suit was 4-0, play a second diamond. If instead, the defenders continue with two rounds of diamonds, they are helping you to get rid of those pesky diamonds.
After gaining the lead at trick three, cash the ace of trumps and, when East shows out, play the ace, king and five of hearts. It will not matter whether West ruffs in with the nine of trumps or discards. If he trumps the five of hearts, he no longer has an entry to East’s hand to obtain a second heart ruff. All you lose would be a trump and two diamonds.
As the cards lie, declarer could recover at trick three by playing a diamond. However that risks going down when hearts are 4-3 and diamonds are 2-5 and East can play a diamond winner on the third round of the suit. That layout would see the defenders make either two trumps or a trump and a heart.