A hand where almost the entire field were in the wrong contract provided an opportunity for one declarer to shine.

Dealer: South
E/W Game


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.

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