This week’s deal is particularly pleasing: a simple play to exploit the fact that, with an odd number of cards outstanding, the odds favour as even a break as possible.

Dealer East
Love all


North’s 3C bid was Fourth Suit Forcing, indicating an opening hand and asking for further description from his partner. East should probably double this bid, asking for a club lead but, when he failed to do so, West opted for 2♥ instead.

Declarer sees 11 tricks and knows that dummy’s long spade suit offers a little over an even money chance of a 12th. Winning in hand, South plays J♠ to A♠ and ruffs a low spade in hand. He crosses to dummy’s Q♥ and ruffs a second low spade, noting that the suit is dividing 4-3. He pulls the final trump, crosses to J♦, and ruffs a third spade with his last trump. Finally, he leads a low diamond to dummy’s A♦ — delighted to see West’s 10♦ appear — before cashing the final spade, on which he discards a club from hand. Now, he can overtake Q♦ with A♦ and lay down 9♦. Twelve tricks scored via a simple suit establishment.

At some tables, West found the club lead (whether or not East got the chance or exploited the opportunity to double for a lead). But where West led something else, only one player executed the play as above. An easy way to score a top, wouldn’t you agree?

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

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