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One of the greatest skills of declarer play

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One of the greatest skills in declarer play is taking every opportunity for an extra chance of making your contract, and in getting the opponents to help you.

You can only do that by giving them the lead, so instead of clinging on to clear losers until the death of the hand, it often pays to give the defenders their winners and then wait for help.

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

Figure 1

This deal is from a team game. South opened one spade, North jumped to two no-trump (Jacoby) promising a game forcing raise in spades with four-card support. South rebid four spades showing a minimum, balanced hand. Both West players led the obvious card, the Queen of clubs.

At the first table, declarer took the Ace of clubs and drew three rounds of trumps ending in dummy. Next, he led a low heart to his Queen, which held, and a heart to dummy’s ten, which lost to East’s Jack. After cashing the Ace of hearts, East played the King and another club. West took the setting trick with the ten of clubs – one down!

At the other table, the declarer was much more experienced. After winning the first trick with the ace of clubs, like his counterpart at the other table, he drew three rounds of trumps. Then he cashed the King and Ace of diamonds and ruffed dummy’s remaining diamond (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Instead of touching hearts, this declarer exited with a club. West played the jack of clubs. As East did not want to be on lead after the third round of clubs he overtook the jack with his King of clubs and exited with another club to West’s Jack.

West counted declarer as beginning with a 5=3=2=3 shape and assumed that declarer held the Queen rather than the Ace of hearts (otherwise there was no defence). On that basis West saw that leading either minor suit now would allow declarer to ruff in dummy and discard a heart from hand: the Ace of hearts would be the defence’s last trick. So West had to get off play by leading a low heart.

Now declarer had one extra chance – play West for the heart nine! Declarer called for dummy’s eight and, when this fetched the jack, declarer’s problems were over. After winning the trick with the Queen of hearts declarer gave up a trick to the Ace of hearts and claimed the contract – lovely play!

Notice that declarer lost nothing by this play – if East had covered the eight of hearts with the nine declarer would win the Queen and now try the finesse of the heart Jack – two chances for the price of one!


Friday, June 3


1. Jack Rhind – Molly Taussig

2. Magda Farag – Lisa Burland

3. Tony Saunders – Pat Siddle


1. Martha Ferguson – Betsy Baillie

2. Aida Bostelmann – Heather Woolf

3. Charles Hall – Diana Diel

Monday, June 6


1. Charles Hall – Molly Taussig

2. Lynanne Bolton – Peter Donnellan

3. Martha Ferguson – Marge Way


1. Diana Diel – Dorry Lusher

2. =Sue Hodge – John Hodge

2. =Tracy Nash – Des Nash

Tuesday, June 7

1. Sally Irvine – Ineke Hetzel

2. Vivian Pereira – Heidi Dyson

3. Marion Silver – Duncan Silver

Wednesday, June 8


1. Heather Woolf – Greta Marshall

2. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

3. Molly Taussig – Tony Saunders


1. Charles Hall – Marge Way

2. Des Nash – Tracy Nash

3. Pat Siddle – Dorry Lusher

Thursday, June 9

1. Molly Taussig – Des Nash

2. Elizabeth McKee – Rachael Gosling

3. Jane Smith – Magda Farag

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Published June 11, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated June 10, 2022 at 1:16 pm)

One of the greatest skills of declarer play

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