We are all brilliant with hindsight
For this week’s hand, see Figure 1.
South opened 2NT showing a balanced 20-22 HCP and North had an easy raise to 3NT.
West led the Jack of hearts to declarer’s queen. Declarer counted seven tricks on top: three hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. The chances of establishing an extra spade trick in time seemed remote, so declarer decided to try for two extra tricks in diamonds.
After winning the heart lead, declarer played without much thought, cashing the Ace of diamonds and then finessing the Jack. The finesse won (hooray!) but East showed out on the second round (boo!).
Declarer now had only eight tricks and realised that he needed to create an extra spade trick. When he played a spade, the defenders won and switched smartly to clubs. They were able to establish two club tricks to go with their three spade tricks before declarer could reach his required total of nine.
Dummy was unsympathetic when declarer complained about the bad luck in diamonds. “Luck had nothing to do with the matter. All you had to do was play low from dummy on the second diamond, allowing West’s nine to win the trick.
“If East were to follow suit, the remainder of the diamond suit would be good. East would have shown out on the second diamond. You could then have picked up the rest of the diamonds and so scored the four diamond tricks that you needed for your contract.”
All very true!
Also – did you notice that East passed up the opportunity for a marvellous defensive trap!?
When declarer played the second diamond East should play the Queen! Ninety-nine out of 100 declarers, convinced East had started with Q8, will grab the King and then the contract is dead! Aren’t we all brilliant in the post-mortem?!