Contract bridge: Bidding problems lead to poor contract — can declarer prevail?
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A hand where almost the entire field were in the wrong contract provided an opportunity for one declarer to shine.
Most good players would respond 1S on North’s hand but, here, it led to trouble. South’s double indicated a strong NT hand with no more than one stopper in hearts. North should re-bid 2S — to play, unless South is extra strong — and 2S is the best contract here. However, many North players bid 3D, perhaps forgetting that this would be forcing, and so South bid 3NT.
If East-West lead hearts and cash ♥AK, declarer can prevail by playing East to hold the doubleton K♦ but, one declarer faced instead 5♣ lead. Realising that his 10♣ and 9♣ offered a second stopper, he beat East’s K♣ with A♣, crossed to dummy’s K♠ and led a low diamond.
When East followed small, he finessed with J♦, which held. A♦ then felled East’s K♦ and declarer was up to eight tricks. He played a diamond to Q♦, and exited with 10♣, won by East’s J♣. East cashed A♥ and switched back to 3♣, taken by West’s Q♣.
Now, only leading a spade from ♠Q3 will defeat declarer. Perhaps West should find it but, after some thought, West played a second heart. Now, declarer scores Q♥, A♠, and two more diamonds. A bad contract deftly handled.