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How an experienced declarer worked out the best play

This week’s hand was faced by an experienced declarer who did what experienced declarers do – he reached back in his play box and recognised the best way to play the hand (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

After North opened a club North-South found their heart fit and after checking for Aces, South bid the slam.

West led a heart and declarer took stock. He had ten top tricks and could make the hand by discarding a club in dummy and ruffing a club and a diamond in dummy but that would need a lot of things to go right. So he decided on a dummy reverse.

So, after winning the first trick with dummy’s ten of trumps, declarer cashed the ace of spades and ruffed a spade low in hand.

Declarer then crossed to dummy with a low trump to the jack, since a two-two trump break would turn this into a claimer.

When East showed out, declarer continued with a second spade ruff with the nine of trumps. Now he did a prescient thing: he cashed the Ace of diamonds and then led a low diamond to dummy’s King.

Declarer ruffed dummy’s remaining spade in hand with the ace of trumps. Then he ruffed the three of diamonds in dummy with the Queen of trumps.

After drawing West’s last trump with the king, declarer claimed 12 tricks: one spade, four trumps in dummy, three spade ruffs in hand and four winners in the minors.

Notice that, if declarer had not cashed the Ace of diamonds before playing a diamond to the King, the contract would have failed on this layout.

West would have discarded a diamond on the fourth round of spades and ruffed the next round of diamonds. Declarer would still have had to lose a club and would have finished one trick short of his contract.


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Published September 25, 2021 at 7:58 am (Updated September 25, 2021 at 7:44 am)

How an experienced declarer worked out the best play

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