This hand gives the reader a chance to display his technique by deciding how he would play a three notrump contract after a heart lead. Notice the way South bid his hand. In the balancing position, a double
followed by a rebid of notrump at the lowest level shows a balanced 16 to 18 points.
West leads the Jack of hearts, and your problem is obvious — you must develop the diamond suit to win nine tricks. However, you may have to give up two diamond tricks and run the risk of the defenders also taking three heart tricks.
The obvious line is to hope that West started with a singleton or doubleton ace of diamonds. Or, there is a chance that East started with a secondary diamond honor that was guarded only once.
Start by allowing West to win the first trick. If he continues with a heart, win and lead a low diamond. Insert dummy’s nine; if West plays low, East wins but can’t return a heart. If he shifts to a club, play the ace and force out the ace of diamonds — then you are safe.
If West shifts at trick two, you have to tackle diamonds differently. Win West’s return in your hand and lead a low diamond to the queen. (West must have the ace of diamonds and king of clubs for his opening bid.)
Return a diamond from dummy to your king. No matter how the cards lie, you now have time to set up the diamonds. If West has been careful to exit safely without giving you a second heart trick, you have to lead a club up to the queen for your game-making trick.
To download a PDF of this week's Deal Us In page, click here.
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.”