Fort Myers Florida Weekly

A highly sophisticated play




There are plays that may appear to make no sense at all but are nevertheless demonstrably correct. Consider this deal where you’re declarer at five clubs. West leads the king of spades, and the question is how to play the hand.

Let’s say you win the spade with the ace, play the king of trumps and then lead a low diamond from dummy. You plan to play the ten from your hand, but, unfortunately, East produces the jack, which you win with the king.

You next lead a diamond to the ace and play a third round of diamonds, hoping West will have to win the trick, which would ensure the contract. But East takes the third diamond with the queen and returns a heart, and down you go.

You could say that the outcome was unlucky, but, even so, you should be willing to shoulder a goodly portion of the blame. You could have adopted a different line of play that would have significantly increased your chances of making the contract.

Although it’s certainly not the sort of thing you see every day, the correct play is not to take West’s king of spades with the ace at trick one! Instead, you let him hold the trick, after which there is nothing he can do to stop you.

Let’s say West leads another spade at trick two. You win with the ace and discard a diamond from your hand. Then, after cashing the ace of trumps, you lead the K-A of diamonds and ruff a diamond. This establishes dummy’s 7-6 of diamonds, on which you can later discard the K-9 of hearts, and you finish with an overtrick.

It is true that ducking the opening spade lead costs you a trick you didn’t have to lose, but you get the trick back because you no longer have to lose a diamond. More importantly, you gain control of the diamonds and can establish them without running the risk that East will be able to win the third round of the suit.

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