When partner pushes, find the right line
Who said “The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly”?
When your partner has overbid and put you into a seemingly hopeless contract, try to find a favorable layout of the cards so that you can get home safely. In today’s example, North raised one no-trump immediately to three notrump, hoping that his partner would have the diamond ace and three more tricks.
Declarer thought he had nine easy winners via one spade, six diamonds and two clubs. But just in case things were not so simple, he ducked the first two spade tricks and took the third. Then he cashed the diamond ace and continued with the diamond jack. West’s heart discard was a blow.
South paused to see if he could still take nine tricks. Then he saw one faint chance. He needed East to have the heart king and ace, and either 3=4=4=2 or 3=5=4=1 distribution.
Declarer won trick five with his diamond jack, cashed the club ace and king, then played a heart to dummy’s 10.
East, quietly grinding his teeth, could do no better than play three rounds of hearts. But South took the last with dummy’s queen and ran the rest of the diamonds.
The opening observation was made by John F. Kennedy. And, finally, did you notice the chance that West missed? After one or two rounds of spades, if West had shifted to hearts, East could have played three rounds of the suit to remove the dummy entry to the diamonds.