Dougie’s Directives for Dithering Declarers capture basic play techniques that improving players need to master. The fourth one, DDDD4 says ‘if you cannot see a reasonable plan, start playing your longest side suit’. This directive has two impacts in this hand. It may be possible to see the plan for the play in the auction and this is why the auction is good. North shows the long club suit and then the good trump support and game values. With a better hand, South would have revalued the king of clubs but, being minimum, Rex allowed the auction to stop in game. West led the ace of clubs and continued with another, no doubt looking for a ruff. Declarer won the king and drew trumps ending in hand. Next he led the H6 and, when West played small, he inserted the H10 which lost to the king. East surprisingly returned the king of diamonds and now declarer can’t get his second heart trick and went one off. Pairs, Both vul, Dealer South
Was Rex unlucky again? Well, he could have led the HQ at after drawing trumps and the heart blockage would disappear but his basic mistake was not knowing DDDD4 and realising he could set up a club winner and not rely on the position of the king of diamonds. Careful entry management was necessary and he should draw trumps ending in dummy and immediately ruff a club. Now is the time to lead and run the HQ. When the DK is returned, he can ruff another club and then finesse the jack of hearts and enjoy the long club trick. It’s matter of using entries correctly to set up the long club! Now the defence made the same error. They know from the auction that there are long clubs on table and that a DDDD4knowledgeable declarer is going to try to set them up so they should not help declarer in that task. It seems clear to lead a red suit after the auction and the J108 of diamonds looks like a safe and automatic choice. The old adage of ‘through strength and up to weakness’ just doesn’t work when it’s declarer’s long suit.