We often hear “second-hand low,” but, in this week’s hand, this would be a major error. West led the queen of hearts, and declarer was faced with entry problems. Declarer had to set up his diamonds while keeping East off lead. In addition, declarer could not afford to cross to the dummy with a spade to lead a diamond, because the defenders could win and knock out the ace of clubs, which would remove the entry to dummy’s third spade.
So, the declarer ducked the opening lead and won the heart continuation. He cashed the king of spades and entered dummy with a spade to the queen. He led a low diamond from the dummy, and East jumped in with the queen (second-hand high).
If East would have played low, declarer would have been able to pass the diamond to West. No return by West would hurt, and with diamonds breaking favorably, the contract would have been made.
As it was, declarer had to capture the queen with the king and now had no entry back to his hand to take advantage of his long diamond suit.
An additional note: Are you taking advantage of playing duplicate bridge on Longboat Key? Larry Auerbach runs three fun, friendly games. Try them; I think you will enjoy the players and the director.
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.”