Mark Horton of England is working on a book that focuses on the difference between the bridge master and the bridge amateur. It’s not fancy, but it highlights simple points that expert players rarely miss. This week’s deal is a case in point.
You land in the notrump game and receive the lead of the ♣6. How do you play? Consider your answer carefully before reading on.
At the table – the deal was played in the Venice Cup quarterfinal round in Estoril, Portugal – South played low, winning the ♣J with the ace. The ♦Q went to the West’s king, and another club came back. Declarer played low and East, giving the deal a deeper look, won the ♣K and played another club to dummy’s queen. Now declarer was an entry short to establish the diamond suit and then cash winners in the suit.
So, where did declarer go wrong?
As is common, the contract was lost at trick one. Do you see where South erred? Perhaps the full deal with help with your analysis:
As you can see, if declarer plays the ♣Q at trick one, no matter what happens, there will be another entry to the South hand – the ♣A if West has led away from the king, or the ♣10 by force if East covers the ♣Q with the king. Note that East had to make the correct play on the second lead of clubs. If East ducks the club to maintain communication, South will win in hand and drive out the ♣A with the ♥Q as an entry to the established diamonds.