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

Some­times the un­der­ly­ing theme of a hand is not im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent. Ide­ally, de­clarer should not play un­til a good plan is iden­ti­fied but some­times a less than ideal plan is suf­fi­ciently at­trac­tive to start play­ing. Here West led the KD to de­clarer’s bare ace.

De­clarer saw that he needed to do one of four things: either make a sec­ond heart trick, or make a club trick, or ruff a club in the dummy, or play the trumps for no losers. The prob­lem is which of th­ese al­ter­na­tives to at­tempt and how to achieve one of them as safely as pos­si­ble. It ap­pears from the bid­ding that both the heart and trump fi­nesses might well fail, so de­clarer turned his at­ten­tion to clubs hop­ing to keep the trump fi­nesse as a last op­tion. Play­ing a low club from hand would suc­ceed if West had started with ace and king of clubs, but that also seemed an un­likely propo­si­tion. Can you see how to pro­ceed? Teams, Both vul, Dealer West

It was only when con­sid­er­ing the club play that de­clarer had the sud­den insight that this was a sim­ple avoid­ance play prob­lem. He had to keep East off lead when the club ace and king were split to pre­vent the defence from play­ing two rounds of trumps. So he crossed to dummy with the ace of hearts and led the seven of clubs from the ta­ble. If East had played the ace or king of clubs this would have al­lowed de­clarer to de­velop a club trick. In prac­tice, East played a low club and de­clarer con­trib­uted the jack, which West took with the ace. As West could not lead a trump with­out sac­ri­fic­ing his trick in the suit, he opted to try and cash a di­a­mond. De­clarer ruffed, then played the two of clubs to dummy’s queen and East’s king. East now played the ex­pected trump to try to stop the club ruff but it was too late. De­clarer rose with the ace of trumps and ruffed the six of clubs in dummy. De­clarer now claimed, con­ced­ing a trick to the king of trumps.

This play only works be­cause de­clarer has the jack and queen of clubs and can trap the de­fender by both threat­en­ing to ruff a club and set­ting one up. Note that the first club must be led from dummy.

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