There has been much written about how to handle certain card combinations. There are still many that you have to work out at the table.
South’s one notrump overcall showed the equivalent of a one notrump opening bid. North had more than enough to raise to game. West’s decision to lead his own suit rather than his partner’s is questionable, especially because he had no outside entry. But this unusual lead was most effective. East rose with the ace of spades and continued the suit. Declarer was faced with the task of having to run eight more tricks before giving up the lead. The defenders would set the contract with their spade tricks.
Assuming a successful heart finesse, declarer could see seven of those eight tricks. He considered trying to steal a diamond trick for his ninth, but he knew his opponents and that there was little hope of that happening.
Some study revealed a play for nine tricks. If West held either a singleton eight or nine of hearts, declarer could take four tricks in that suit. He needed three entries to dummy for this to work.
Declarer cashed the ace of clubs and led the queen. When West followed suit, three entries in that suit were assured. He overtook the queen with the king and led the Jack of hearts. East covered, and declarer won the king. He now crossed to the dummy with the market finesse of the nine of clubs and led a heart to his seven. He cashed the 10 of hearts, returned to the dummy with the Jack of clubs and scored his ace of hearts. This made four heart tricks, four club tricks and a spade trick for his three notrump contract.
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Donna Swan is a resident of Longboat Key, an ardent bridge player and an American Contract Bridge League certified director who plays “for the fun of it.”