ACES ON BRIDGE
The 2015 European Youth Team Championships produced this week’s final play.
South’s rustic leap to game saw West lead the heart queen, only to be disappointed by dummy’s heart holding. Declarer won dummy’s king, then led a diamond to the king and another back to the jack and queen.
East now had to open up a black suit. From trick one, West surely had the heart ace-queenjack, so he could have no more than a queen in the black suits.
Since a club switch would be fatal if West had nothing there, East opted for a spade. East exited with the spade nine, ensnaring dummy’s eight. By contrast, a low spade would have gone to the queen and king, granting declarer a trick in that suit.
The spade nine was covered all around. Declarer surrendered a heart to West, who plowed on with a spade to the six, seven and two. Winning the third spade, declarer knocked out the heart ace and won the next heart in dummy, East shedding a spade and two clubs. West’s club nine guarded the third round of that suit, so South had to lose a trick in one minor or the other.
Perhaps declarer could have returned a heart at trick two. East can discard a spade on that, but the next heart forces a second spade out of him. Now, when declarer finesses in diamonds, East will have to give up a trick regardless of what he plays.