Have you experienced an expert declarer play a hand so accurately against you that you were left wondering whether you had held your hand too low and they had peeked? This month’s declarer’s eyes were firmly fixed on his own cards – he used pure logic to succeed.
West led ♦ K and declarer won ♦ A then assessed his prospects. The slam seemed to depend entirely on trumps splitting 2-2. He cashed ♠ A and crossed to ♠ K with fingers firmly crossed. West discarding ( ♥ 2) on the second round was a major blow. Was there any way to avoid losing ♥ A in addition to East’s ♠ Q?
The only possibility was to discard all dummy’s hearts on his clubs before East could trump. For this plan to work, East needed to follow to four rounds of clubs. Assuming – as he had to – that East held four clubs to West’s two, ♣ J would be twice as likely to be with East.
At trick four, declarer led ♣ 5 from dummy and finessed ♣ 10 (key play). When ♣ 10 won, he cashed ♣ A K Q, discarding two hearts from dummy. He then led the master ♣ 2 discarding dummy’s last heart. East trumped with ♠ Q but it was too late. He led a second diamond but declarer ruffed, then ruffed ♥ K with dummy’s last trump. He tabled his last four cards, all trumps, and that was slam made, making West wish he’d ignored his diamond sequence and divined to lead a heart at trick one. ANDREW ROBSON