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How this declarer gave himself one extra chance

Most of the hands in this column are about declarer play, and I’ve often stressed that the key to success is to give yourself as many chances as possible to make the hand before falling back on the ‘best’ chance – especially if exploring the alternatives costs you nothing.

With that in mind, look at today’s hand (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

After this fairly simple auction, West led the ten of hearts. When East played the Jack of hearts, declarer tentatively placed him with the three top heart honours.

Declarer could see nine tricks and it seemed that he would have to rely on West’s holding the Ace of clubs to make his contract. However, declarer saw a slight extra chance and decided to play for it.

After winning the first trick with the Ace of hearts, declarer drew trumps. Now came the key play: instead of playing a club, declarer took the Ace and King of diamonds, then ruffed dummy’s remaining diamond. Declarer now got off play with a low heart. East took his King and Queen of hearts but then had to play a club to give declarer his tenth trick.

Note that nothing was lost by this approach: if East had either a heart or a diamond left, then declarer would have ruffed the red-suit exit and played a club himself. The chance that East had 3=3=3=4 distribution was low, perhaps 5 or 6 per cent, but the combined chance of West holding the Ace of clubs and East his precise shape gave declarer about a six in ten chance of making his contract.

Don’t worry about the maths – all you have to know is that declarer’s play gave him one extra chance above just hoping that the club Ace was right!


Friday, November 19

1. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

2. Molly Taussig – Elysa Burland

3= Joe Wakefield – Dorry Lusher

3= Martha Ferguson – Judy King

3= Aida Bostelmann – Heather Woolf

Monday, November 22

1. Elysa Burland – Magda Farag

2. Joyce Pearson – Heather Woolf

3. Judy Bussell – Dorry Lusher

Tuesday, November 23

1. Richard Keane – Nick Jones

2. Nikki Boyce – Mark Stevens

3. Sandra gden – George Ogden

Wednesday, November 24

1. Magda Farag – Charles Hall

2. Tracy Nash – Des Nash

3. Linda Pollett – Bill Pollett

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Published November 27, 2021 at 7:55 am (Updated November 27, 2021 at 7:55 am)

How this declarer gave himself one extra chance

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