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Play Bridge: Switch to the King of Diamonds

East west vulnerable - Warren Watson
East west vulnerable
— image credit: Warren Watson

The bidding: East, too weak even to make a not vulnerable weak two diamonds, passes to South, who, with 11 HCP’s, opens one heart. In third seat, one opens a Queen lighter than in first, second or fourth seats. One knows game is out of the question, but one may get a good part score or a good lead from partner.

South, however, has a hand that would open in any seat except fourth. He has two and a half quick tricks. In fourth seat, South would pass with this hand because he fears that the opponents may find spades.

Nevertheless, South opens, and West overcalls one spade. North raises and East has not enough points to raise his partner. West has a good hand so he repeats his spades. South then competes to three hearts because he has two or fewer spades. East should come in with three spades, but because of the doubleton queen in opponent’s suit, he does not.

The Lead: Ace from Ace and King of spades. This is a natural lead.

The play: East plays the four of spades on partner’s ace. If he had a doubleton, he would have made an echo, high then low. East cashes the king of spades and then exits a club.

Declarer wins the King and plays a small heart and ducks it around. West wins the Ten and plays the King of diamonds.

Declarer will discard his diamonds on the clubs so if partner has the Queen of diamonds, a diamond lead is needed before the ace of hearts in knocked out. Partner has three spades and did not raise and has shown an honour in hearts because declarer ducked a heart to the Ten.  Partner cannot have the ace of diamonds, but could have the Queens of hearts and Queen of diamonds.

Declarer wins the ace of diamonds and plays the King of hearts smothering partner’s queen. He does not dare going to dummy because that would break communication in clubs and there may be a club ruff.

When West wins the Ace of trump, he cashes a diamond.

Results: Three hearts down one for -50 or two spades making for +110. North and South made a good bid because they only lost 50 points not 110.

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