It is so easy to trip up and fail
One of our more popular quotes-persons, A.N. Other, said, “Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path, and you will find you have crossed the mountain.”
At the bridge table, you can occasionally trip up by not watching the spot-cards closely, but more often it is an honor-card that will be your downfall — as it was for the original South in this deal. What should he have done in three no-trump after West led his fourth-highest heart, East put up the jack, and South won with his king? What do you think of the auction?
I like the bidding ... unless you and your partner use minor-suit transfers (which are recommended only for regular partnerships). If curious, go to phillipalderbridge.com/TRANSFER.HTM.
Declarer started with seven top tricks: three spades, one heart (the first trick), two diamonds and one club. Obviously the diamonds will provide the necessary extra winners, but some care is required.
South cashed his diamond king at trick two and fell flat on his face. Even if he had led a low diamond from hand, he would still have tripped, given the 4-0 split.
Since trick one had marked West with the heart ace, declarer should have led a spade to dummy’s jack and run the diamond jack. Here, the finesse would have won and South would have taken 11 tricks. But even if West could have won with the diamond queen, South’s heart queen would have been a stopper, and the contract would have been safe.
Do not avoid a perfect avoidance play.