Writers’ weekly 47 | A lost chance

Declarer play is the easiest art at the bridge table. Since you don’t have to take care of partner when you dive into a hand as declarer, we consider it a bit easier to handle than defense or bidding. But be aware, there will be enough hurdles on your way.

The hand we are about to see had a lot of opportunities, and a few hurdles. Declarer didn’t find his way, maybe you find a better line of play?

You play teams against strong opponents.


EW had an active approach to the bidding given the number of HCP divided between them, but it was hard for NS to double 2 spades, 3 NT seemed like standard contract.

A spade was led, east took the ace and next came a heart that you let thru to the king. West played another heart won by the ace.

How would you proceed?

Declarer gave it a thought. West seemed to be 6-3-3-1 or 6-4-3-0 with short clubs. Since the ace of spades showed up at east, there wouldn’t be enough hcp for the opening at west. If west hold 6-4 in majors he is likely to rebid 2 hearts, so maybe the distribution is 6-3-4-0 or 6-3-3-1?  

If either red suit works well declarer is home safe winning either 2 hearts, 4 diamonds and 3 clubs or 3 hearts, 3 diamonds and 3 clubs. South continued with a low club to the jack, west following with the 3. East took his queen and played another club back on by the nine, west discarded a spade.

Ok then we know west has 6-?-?-1. He is not very likely to hold a 5-card side suit, so he is either 6-3-3-1, 6-4-2-1 or 6-2-4-1.

The communications are getting terrible. Is there any chance to combine declarers chances?

We face no hurdle if the jack of hearts works well, so we need to look more into the hand if the jack of hearts is guarded and the diamonds don’t work.

It would be a surprise if east had transferred to clubs holding 1-5-2-5, therefore we can be pretty sure west holds either 3 or 4 hearts.

Declarer must cash the ace and king of clubs, west discard spades, dummy discard a spade, but wait a minute, is there a need to keep the last spade at dummy?

Correct, declarer make his contract if hearts bring 3 tricks. And based on the defense we can be pretty sure east don’t hold the jack of hearts, it would be strange to turn a heart from Jxxx or Jxx. Therefore, we discard a diamond from dummy.

Very nice indeed, the whole hand looks like this

 Next, we play ace, king and queen of diamonds, you smile when west starts to think. The position has come down to this when west has to find a discard on the queen of diamonds:

West must hold on to the hearts, so he discards the jack of spades. Now well-kept spade do the job, you play a spade, west win the king but then are on play from J 7 of hearts in front of dummy holding QT.

You make the finesse and contract.