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Neither vulnerable, North deals

NORTH

♠A K Q J 3

♥Void

♦9 8

♣A 9 8 7 5 3

WEST EAST

♠10 7 6 5 ♠9 8 2

♥K 8 6 ♥10 7 5

♦A J 7 6 2 ♦Q 10 5 3

♣2 ♣K Q 6

SOUTH

♠4

♥A Q J 9 4 3 2

♦K 4

♣J 10 4

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

1♣ Pass 4♥ All pass

Opening lead: Two of

The auction must have been a disappointment for North, who was not expecting to be the dummy when he first saw his hand. North showed excellent discipline when he passed the four-heart bid. Today’s deal is from a recent youth competition in Europe. West was Julien Bernard, from France.

Bernard led his singleton club. Declarer won with dummy’s ace and cashed three top spades to discard his two club losers. He was at the crossroads. Should he lead a diamond toward his king or lead the jack of spades and take his chances? The jack of spades would have been the winner, but that is only known with the benefit of hindsight.

South chose to lead a diamond to his king. Bernard captured that with his ace and led a low diamond to East’s queen. East led the king of clubs hoping it would lead to another trump trick for the defense. Declarer navigated his way through this predicament by ruffing with the nine, but Bernard found a brilliant counter by refusing to over-ruff, discarding a diamond instead.

South cashed the ace of hearts and continued with the queen of hearts. Bernard won with his king and led his last spade. When East ruffed this with the 10 of hearts, it promoted Bernard’s eight of hearts into the setting trick. A lovely defense! (03/02/19)

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