What Can He Discard?

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

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

Opening lead: ♠3
3NT was the popular contract when this deal was played at a tournament some years ago. 11 tricks would have been easy in a heart contract, but that was too difficult to bid. Most declarers won the first or second spade, depending on East’s play at trick one, and crossed to dummy in clubs. They led a diamond to their jack and lost that trick plus four spades to finish down one.
The few successful declarers took some time after winning the spade to consider what they knew about the hand. The opening lead made it look like East started with five spades. East surely had the A for his opening bid, and probably the Q as well. What would East have to discard if South ran his club suit right away? Assuming East played the ♠J at trick one, he would have to come down to seven cards. He would have to keep all four of his remaining spades, or it would be safe for South to knock out the A. He would also have to keep the A, which meant that he could only keep two diamonds. The diamond finesse, at that point, would not be necessary.
Declarer cashed all five of his club winners. This left him with no entry to dummy, but that didn’t matter. He saw East discard one heart and three diamonds. South cashed the AK and claimed his contract when the queen fell from West. Well done!

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