The bidding is easily understood. North’s one notrump bid shows six to eight high-card points without support for the opening bid suit. South was tempted to bid the game but decided to make an invitational jump-bid of three hearts. After his partner made the jump-bid, North thought that because he had two aces that a four-heart bid was worth a try.
West led the queen of diamonds, and most players would lose the contract by the time they had played the second trick. They would win the ace of diamonds and cash the ace of hearts. The five trump cards help by East would mean that the declarer could not take more than nine tricks.
An experienced player would realize that the hand was a lay down — barring a 5-0 trump break — and direct his line of play to see what he could do to counter that remote possibility.
The correct play is to win the ace of diamonds and immediately ruff a diamond. Then, cross to the ace of trump, and if defenders have a trump, declarer simply draws trump and claims 10 tricks.
When West shows out on the first trump lead, declarer can still make his contract. He uses his second entry to dummy to ruff another diamond. But there is just one more problem to overcome to make his contract. East must hold at least two spades and one club. When the two black-suit plays win, declarer has 10 tricks, four trump, two ruffs, two spades and the minor suit aces.
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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.”