Log In

Reset Password

How pedestrian declarer play can lose a bushel of points

First Prev 1 2 Next Last
Slam hands: instructional in the bidding and the play (Photograph courtesy of chalfontsu3a.org.uk)

This week and next I will present two slam hands which are instructional in the bidding and the play. North-South were good bidders in getting to the slams but South let the team down with some pedestrian declarer play to lose a bushel of points (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

The auction was similar at both tables in a team game. North opened one club, South responded one heart and after North rebid one no-trump, South relayed with two diamonds – New Minor Forcing, forcing to game. When three-card support was shown with two hearts, both South players drove to the heart slam via a key-card enquiry. The lead at both tables was the Jack of clubs.

At the first table, declarer was, like many, a “finesseaholic”. He took the opening lead in hand with the Queen, led a low trump to dummy’s King and another to the Jack.

Alas, West was able to take this with the Queen and made the good move of exiting with a trump. Upon winning with the Ace of hearts, declarer played off his remaining trumps, the Ace of diamonds and the King of clubs.

After crossing to dummy with a low spade to the King, declarer cashed the Ace of clubs, throwing his losing diamond from hand. As the eight of clubs was not high, declarer cashed the Queen and Ace of spades. Unfortunately for declarer, spades were four-two, so West took the last trick for down one.

At the other table, declarer just cashed the Ace and King of trumps rather than risking a trump finesse. Then he cashed the King of clubs and crossed to dummy with a spade and discarded his losing diamond on the Ace of clubs.

Next, he cashed the Ace-Queen of spades and ruffed his fourth spade in dummy. All he lost was a trump to West’s Queen. The second declarer would always have succeeded if trumps had been three-two and he’d have had decent residual chances if East had had four trumps to the Queen. The first declarer would have succeeded with trumps three-two and the Queen onside, or if the spades had been three-three, a lesser chance than the approach his opponent in the other room adopted.


Friday, September 9

1. Molly Taussig – Harry Kast

2. Peter Donnellan – Joe Wakefield

3. Gertie Barker – Judy King

Monday, September 12

1. Pat Siddle – Diana Diel

2. Molly Taussig – Jack Rhind

3. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

Tuesday, September 13

1. Sarah Bowers – Stuart Clare

2. Marion Silver – Duncan Silver

3. Jean Schilling – John Thorne

Wednesday, September 14


1. Molly Taussig – Tony Saunders

2. Sheena Rayner – Magda Farag

3. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray


1. Greta Marshall – Lynanne Bolton

2. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

3. Martha Ferguson – Judy King

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published September 17, 2022 at 8:03 am (Updated September 17, 2022 at 8:03 am)

How pedestrian declarer play can lose a bushel of points

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon