The Dallas Morning News


- By BOBBY WOLFF Andrews Mcmeel Syndicatio­n

This week’s deals were all played at the NABC in Providence, R.I., last summer.

In our first hand, West had been put off his natural spade lead against three no-trump. His fourth-highest heart five went to East’s ace, and back came the heart jack.

With seven top tricks, declarer saw he could establish at least two more in the clubs. The only concern lay with entries. If declarer finessed the club jack on the first round and East held off, South would be an entry short to establish and enjoy dummy’s clubs.

Declarer found the elegant solution by running the club nine on the first round. It would not have helped East to duck, so he took his club 10 and cleared the hearts, but South was able to set the clubs up for nine tricks.

At the other table, West led a low spade to declarer’s 10. South finessed the club jack at once, but East won and attacked diamonds. Declarer won in hand and cashed a couple of club tricks but was then badly positioned. If he knocked out the club 10, East would establish the diamonds and remain with the heart-ace entry. If instead declarer played a heart from dummy, East would duck, and declar- er would be unable to play on hearts again without releasing control of the diamonds.

Cashing the top spades first would have worked today, but at the table South cleared the clubs before touching hearts, hoping West held the heart ace. Now East could set up the diamonds with the heart ace as an entry, to defeat the game.

Answer: Lead the spade jack. East is prepared for a spade lead, so the sneak attack of a diamond could be right, but that could just as easily surrender a trick or a tempo. The natural spade-jack lead will, you hope, give nothing away and set up at least a trick or two for your side.

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