Can south survive the heart attack?
I am writing this column straight after Roger Federer lost to Milos Raonic in the semifinal of Wimbledon last month. Federer was another commentator victim. At 5-6 in the fourth set, Federer was ahead 40-0. A commentator said that this was just what Federer wanted, an easy service game to get into the tiebreaker. A couple of minutes later, Raonic had won the game and set, then he ran away with the fifth set. By now, you would think commentators would know not to make an observation like that.
In today’s deal, one analyst said that six spades could be made if West leads the diamond queen, but not if he chooses the heart eight. Is that correct? When North replied five hearts to South’s Blackwood inquiry, East made a lead-directing double.
If East had not doubled, West would surely have led the diamond queen, which would have given South an easy run. He would have taken the trick, drawn trumps, and run the club queen. The finesse would have lost, but declarer would have had the rest of the tricks. It does seem as though the heart lead is fatal, but not if South plays carefully. He wins East’s heart queen with his ace, draws trumps, cashes his diamond ace, plays a diamond to dummy’s king, and ruffs the last diamond on his hand. Then he exits with his remaining heart. East takes the trick but is endplayed, having either to lead away from the club king or to concede a ruff-and-sluff (on which South discards a club).
tricks. However, South should see that he has 10 winners via one spade, six hearts and three diamonds. He can fail only if West regains the lead. So, by ducking at trick one, he is safe.