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

The con­tract in this hand is quite nor­mal but the op­po­nents, a pro-client pair had a hic­cup in their bid­ding. The 2S bid had been a trans­fer to clubs and 2NT sug­gested be­ing good for clubs. The wheels fell of with 3D which was meant to be a short­age and 3H seemed to be a cue bid. How­ever, they got the brakes on and stopped safely in 3NT. The pro warned us about the 3D bid be­ing a mis­take and West got off to the lead of the KS. East played a dis­cour­ag­ing 2S, deny­ing the ace or jack, and South ducked. West now switched to the 2H to part­ner’s 10H and de­clarer’s KH. De­clarer re­ally has only one place to go for tricks and, af­ter much thought, he took the club fi­nesse. East won the king and re­turned the 10S to trap de­clarer’s jack but de­clarer rose with the ace and, when the clubs were 2-2, he gath­ered in ten tricks for a small 2 imp gain. So much has gone wrong here, it’s dif­fi­cult to know where to start but per­haps you should con­sider it be­fore read­ing on.

IMPs, Both vul, Dealer East

When West cor­rectly switched at trick two, it was to the best suit for the de­fence. Af­ter win­ning the king of clubs, East should re­alise he knows where the heart hon­ours are since part­ner led the 2H promis­ing a face card. On this ba­sis, he should lead a heart to part­ner’s ace and they should just cash the hearts to de­feat the con­tract. This was a bad mis­take by East. De­clarer could eas­ily have avoided this pos­si­bil­ity. Although the Bath Coup in spades is at­trac­tive to de­clarer, de­fen­sive sig­nalling makes it easy to avoid as was the case here. Also, de­clarer can see there is grave dan­ger in hearts so he should win the ace of spades at trick one to avoid the heart switch. Now he should play ace and an­other club since he doesn’t care if West has the king and might drop a sin­gle­ton king with East. Any­way he has now de­vel­oped four, or more, club tricks and the J8x of spades al­lows de­clarer to stop the de­fence run­ning too many spades no mat­ter which de­fender leads them.

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