The key to today’s game lies with South’s play of the club suit. Those who play the suit in accordance with good habits go down, and those who count 10 sure winners make the game.
South took his ace of spades and led a trump to the dummy to make the generally accepted play in clubs. He led toward his club honors. South’s Jack of clubs lost to West’s queen, and West led another trump. Declarer won in the dummy and led another club back to his king, which lost to West’s ace. A third trump lead killed the dummy, and the defenders won three clubs and one spade trick for down one in the contract.
Had West led a trump initially, South would have had little chance at the game against good defenders. Given the fortunate lead of the Jack of spades by West, South should have played safely to win 10 tricks.
After winning the ace of spades, South should lead a club from his hand. If West wins and leads a trump,
South wins the race for a club ruff in the dummy. A second club is won by West, and even if West leads a second trump, one trump remains in the dummy to score the vital club ruff.
Never depend on probabilities if an unbeatable play is available.
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.”