It isn’t easy to see how four spades can be made on this deal. With the A-Q of diamonds and king of clubs offside and the hearts not dividing evenly, it seems South must sooner or later lose a heart, two diamonds and a club. But when the deal arose in the 1992 Spingold Teams, Peter Boyd found the way to make 10 tricks.
Boyd reached four spades on the bidding shown. North’s redouble of West’s takeout double promised precisely threecard spade support.
Boyd won the opening spade lead in his hand and cashed a second trump. He was sure West had at least four hearts for his double, leaving East with no more than two hearts.
Quite reasonably, Boyd decided he should first try to find East with the doubleton nine or ten of hearts. In that case, after the nine or ten fell on the second round of the suit, a third-round finesse of dummy’s eight would permit a club or diamond discard on the queen.
Accordingly, Boyd played the king of hearts at trick three. When West won and shifted to a club, declarer put up dummy’s ace and cashed the heart jack, hoping to fetch the nine or ten from East. East did not oblige, but Boyd had another string to his bow.
At trick six, he led a heart to West’s nine and dummy’s queen, then played the heart eight from dummy and on it discarded the jack of clubs! West won with the ten and was endplayed. If he returned a diamond, declarer would score the king, so West exited with a low club. Boyd played dummy’s nine, ruffed East’s king, crossed to dummy’s six of spades and discarded a diamond on the club queen to bring home his game.
At the other table, West led a club against the same contract, leaving declarer no chance, but that should in no way detract from Boyd’s superlative effort at his table.
Tomorrow: Upping the percentages.