This East-West pair cooperated to set a seemingly ironclad contract. North’s bidding seems a bit iffy. His hand is worth 19 points, and a simple heart raise does not do it justice. It is unwise to jump-raise a suit with only three-card support. Even with the king and queen, it might be better to bid three clubs at his turn. North took the raise and bid the game in hearts.
West led the top of his diamond sequence, and East, looking at the dummy, could see two probable diamond tricks for his side. East, knowing that any cards his partner held in black suits would be finessable, thought that there was no way that the defense could take any tricks in the black suits. To defeat the contract, East set about attacking the declarer’s trump holding.
East won the king and ace of diamonds, and, then, did what every bridge player is told not to do: He continued with a diamond to give the declarer a ruff and a sluff. Declarer could not trump in the dummy without promoting a trump trick for West, so he ruffed in his hand.
When declarer led a trump, West took the ace. Taking his lead from his partner, West led a fourth diamond, and declarer was stopped. If he ruffed in dummy, he would set up a trump trick for West. If he ruffed in his hand, West would end up with a long trump. Regardless of how South will proceed, the contract is down one.
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.”