Opening lead - ten of clubs.
One vital characteristic of any successful player’s psyche is temperament. A player who is easily upset by a bad break, or who allows a poor result on one deal to adversely influence his play on a subsequent deal, is not likely to do well over the long haul. Take this case where declarer lost his cool after running into a 4-0 split in a critical suit while playing what looked like an ironclad slam.
He won the opening club lead in dummy in order to tackle his most promising suit, diamonds. But when East discarded a heart on the low diamond lead, South was suddenly confronted with the prospect of going down.
This unexpected turn of events proved to be more than South could handle. He finessed the diamond queen, losing to the king, and won the club return with the king. Sad to say, he later misguessed which way to take the spade finesse and finished down one. However, if South had more calmly reviewed the situation after East failed to follow to the first diamond, he would have realized that the slam was still a 100 percent certainty.
After East showed out at trick two, declarer should have gone up with the ace and then led a low diamond toward the jack. West could not afford to take the king since this would establish the remaining diamonds. After dummy’s jack won, South would then need to score only three spade tricks without allowing West to gain the lead.
This could be managed very easily by leading a club to the king followed by a spade to the nine. Even if the finesse lost to East, 12 tricks - three spades, four hearts, two diamonds and three clubs - would have been assured.
As it happens, the finesse works and the queen later falls, so declarer winds up with an extra trick as a bonus for maintaining his composure.
Duzi Bridge Club, Results 7 February 2018
1. A. Steere and S. Lloyd; 2. S. Moore and M. Rivers-Moore; 3. M. Akerman and V. Fowler.
Victoria Bridge Club
1. Carol Birch and Gail O’Shea; 2. Tish Kauffman and Keith Hitchcox; 3. Robin Leisegang and Ave Wingfield.