The Union Democrat

Clubs or diamonds... clubs or diamonds?


The Senior Life Master entered the bridge club engulfed in a ski jacket to try to keep out the chill of winter. He was looking forward to his trip south for the holidays and New Year’s. First, though, he had a few more classes to teach.

Cover the East-west cards in my first diagram (the SLM began) and decide how you would play in four spades, optimistic­ally doubled by East. West leads the heart queen and continues with the heart jack.

After pausing for about 90 seconds, the SLM continued: In a team match, both declarers ruffed the second trick and drew trumps in three rounds. Now came the key question: Which minor to play first?

One South led a club to the queen. East won with the ace and tapped declarer with another heart, South ruffing with his final spade. South cashed the club king, led to the club jack and, when they broke 4-2, called for the diamond jack. However, East won with his ace, cashed a heart trick and led a fifth heart. Dummy had to ruff and concede a club trick to West: down two. If the clubs had been 3-3, declarer still would have finished down one.

At the other table, South realized it was right to lead a diamond at trick six. East won with the ace and forced declarer with a heart, but South cashed his two diamond winners, discarding a heart and a club from the dummy. Then he led a club. East won and played a heart, but dummy ruffed, and two club tricks were cashed.

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