A Sure Thing?

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: South ♠ 6 3
Vul: E-W A J 8 5 2
J 2
♣ A K 9 8
♠ 8 5 2 ♠ A 10 9 7
Q 10 9 7 4
A 10 9 8 7 6 5
♣ 7 5 ♣ Q 10 6 4 2
♠ K Q J 4
K 6 3
K Q 4 3
♣ J 3
South West North East
1NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 3NT Pass
4 All Pass

Opening lead: ♣7
The final contract looks like a cinch. Indeed, declarer might take 11 tricks if the defense fails to find the diamond ruff. What could possibly go wrong?
Today’s deal is from a youth match some years ago between teams from Australia and China-Hong Kong. The Australian declarer won the opening club lead in dummy and led a heart to his king. West, L. H. Chin, followed smoothly with the queen! Declarer was convinced that this was a singleton. He could have succeeded against a 4-1 trump split by leading spades twice toward his hand, but he was worried that spades and diamonds were both splitting poorly. The opening lead made it seem that West was short in clubs, and a singleton heart as well bode poorly for the splits in the other suits.
South decided to try for two club ruffs in his hand instead. He led a club to dummy’s king and ruffed a club in his hand. West over-ruffed with the 10 and accurately led the ace and another diamond. East ruffed this and cashed the ♠A for down one. South had a sorry tale to tell his teammates at the score-up.
Looking at the ace-jack of hearts sitting over him in dummy, West’s play of the queen could hardly ever cost. He couldn’t be sure it would gain anything, but why not give it a try? West was rewarded with a wonderful result here.