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Neither vulnerable, South deals

NORTH

♠8 6 2

♥K Q 10 7

♦A 8 7

♣K 4 2

WEST EAST

♠J 4 3 ♠Q 10 9 5

♥J 8 4 ♥3

♦Q 5 4 ♦10 9 6 2

♣Q J 10 3 ♣A 9 8 6

SOUTH

♠A K 7

♥A 9 6 5 2

♦K J 3

♣7 5

The bidding:

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST

1♥ Pass 3NT Pass

4♥ All pass

Opening lead: Queen of

Plenty of trumps and plenty of values, but it looks like foul business for declarer with both the ace of clubs and the queen of diamonds off-side. Good technique by South, however, saved the day, or at least the contract.

South ducked the queen of clubs lead and the jack of clubs continuation, in the faint hope that East started with a doubleton ace. No luck there, so South ruffed the third club and thoughtfully led a low heart to dummy’s king, catering to a possible 4-0 trump split. Everyone followed to the heart, so declarer played two more rounds of hearts to draw the trumps.

Declarer now cashed the ace and king of spades and continued with a third spade. This would win immediately if West won the third spade, as he would have to yield a ruff-sluff or lead a diamond. East, however, overtook West’s jack of spades with the queen and shifted to the 10 of diamonds. This was covered by the jack, queen and ace. A surprising finesse position had developed against the nine of diamonds. South led dummy’s eight of diamonds and ran it when East played low. Good technique rewarded!

Would South have found the winning play if East had shifted to a low diamond rather than the 10? We’ll never know, but he should! Why not take advantage of the extra chance that East has the 10-9 of diamonds? South would still be able to finesse for the queen later. (02/15/19)

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