Editor’s note: The following “Deal Us In” column was originally published Oct. 25, 2001.
“Double dummy” means looking at all four hands and deciding what line of play would be best. Readers who wish to test themselves should decide how they would play the four-spade contract before reading the column.
The opening lead is the king of hearts, so how can you make 10 tricks against the best defense? Several good players have pondered for hours and not come up with the solution.
Declarer has a dilemma. He can win the lead with the ace of hearts and cash four rounds of diamonds. He must draw trump before playing diamonds or West will score a ruff. East wins the king of diamonds and leads a heart. With no more trump, declarer cannot unblock diamonds and score the fourth diamond in his hand.
One thought is to draw four rounds of trump, discarding the Jack of diamonds. Declarer can lead a diamond to the ace and queen, but East can hold off his king and then declarer is doomed.
The solution is simple: Win the ace of hearts at trick one and lead four rounds of trump, discarding a heart from the dummy. Next, Declarer plays the ace and queen of diamonds. East wins the king and leads a heart to destroy the declarer’s last entry. Declarer can refuse to ruff and, instead, discard a club. The defense leads a fourth round of hearts, and declarer ruffs. Because there are no more hearts in the dummy, he can discard the Jack of diamonds and unblock for the high 10-9.
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.”