Main Article 7K70 by Richard Pavlicek
This deal from a recent team match provides some instructive pointers in trump handling, both as declarer and by the defense. Its the old cat-and-mouse game, with a diamond ruff at stake.
After a routine opening and takeout double, Souths jump to 2 was weak a common practice in competition. North felt that game was a good bet with his exceptional fit, so he jumped directly to 4 . East felt otherwise and stated his opinion with a final double.
West led a club to the ace, then East promptly shifted to the A and Q to Souths king. Before reading further, decide how you would play from there.
4 × South
|None Vul|| 10 9 3|
A K 5
A K Q J 5 4
| 8 7 5 4|
10 8 7 2
10 9 5 3 2
| A Q J 6|
Q 6 4 2
A Q J 4
|Lead: 3|| K 2|
J 10 9 8 7 3
8 7 6
Declarer was in good shape with anything but the worst breaks, so he next led the J. Not surprisingly, West showed out, and dummys king was taken. The only hope now was that East had two diamonds, so the A-K were led. Oops. East ruffed the second, and he still had to make the Q. Down one.
The winning play is not completely obvious but highly indicated from the bidding and final double. After winning the K, declarer should lead a club and ruff high in dummy; next ruff a spade, then lead the last club and ruff high again. Careful! Cash one diamond; then lead the 5. East is helpless to win more than the Q. Note the need to cash one diamond, else East could lead the 9 and lock you in dummy.
Curiously, there is a way for the defense to prevail against any play by declarer. After winning the A, East must shift to a low trump. This seems counterintuitive looking at dummys powerful diamonds, yet declarer cannot overcome the obstacles. If you dont mind an exercise in frustration, try it.
[Addendum: This deal inspired Problem 4 in my February 2003 contest Have Cards, Will Double.]
© 2002 Richard Pavlicek