Which suit is the better choice?
BY PHILLIP ALDER
Vincent van Gogh said, “I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.”
It seems as though fate decides some bridge deals. In today’s, for example, how should South play in six notrump after West leads the club 10?
In the auction, North-South were using two-over-one gameforcing. South could have rebid three diamonds, but did not like to consume so much bidding space. Also, his spade suit looked six-long. Over three clubs, South was tempted to bid a quantitative four no-trump but was afraid partner would treat it as Roman Key Card Blackwood. (It should be natural. To ask about key cards, South raises to four clubs first, setting the trump suit.) However, when North invited a slam, South happily accepted.
South starts with 11 top tricks: five spades, two hearts and four clubs. The extra winner has to come from one of the red suits, but which one, and how?
Ideally, declarer would like to cash dummy’s top hearts to see if the queen drops, then to try to guess diamonds. But that risks going down when the defenders can win with the diamond ace and cash the heart queen. Alternatively, South could run the heart 10 or try to guess diamonds. What would you do?
I would be inclined to lead the diamond jack from the dummy because East might cover with the queen or think about it. If he plays low smoothly, I will put up the king.
At the table, West had queen-doubleton of hearts and ace-doubleton of diamonds, but fatefully led not the club 10 but the heart queen!
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