Some failed to reach game; of those who did, few made it, although the best line is both simple and logical. How would you have done?

Dealer: South
Game All


In response to South’s game-forcing 2C opener, North’s 2D was a relay; 2NT a negative. West usually started with A♠, before switching to J♣. A couple of pairs weirdly eschewed the top spade lead and opted for J♣ — this could lead to defeat for declarer whatever he does. At trick 2, everyone won A♣ and then played on trumps. Those who laid down a top heart from hand lost two natural trump tricks; players who correctly realised the value of the 10♥ in dummy, led a low heart. However, West hopped up with Q♥, led 7♣ to East’s Q♣ and then received a third club. Whether declarer trumps high or low, a second trump trick is promoted for West.

The solution to these problems is, at trick 2, to duck J♣ lead. If West holds a singleton club, and East the singleton Q♥, there is nothing to be done but, if West holds a doubleton club, this may seal off East from being able to regain the lead. Here, the latter scenario exists; when West takes Q♥, she is unable to receive her trump uppercut, and her ♥942 disappear under declarer’s three top trumps.

Paul Mendelson’s new book, ‘The Joy of Bridge’, is out now

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