When Debra Smith of Ocala sent me this hand with the bidding at her table, I knew it was best that I was not her partner sitting North. The first bid would be correct — I have no four-card major and just six to nine points — but I doubt that I would have known her three-club bid meant that she was asking if I had a club stopper and that she was asking me to bid three notrump if I had one. We would have ended in the five-diamond contract.
Most declarers trumped the deuce of clubs lead by West and drew trump. They ended in the dummy and tried the heart finesse. West won the king of hearts and returned a club. With no dummy entry — too many high trumps in the declarer’s hand — declarer had to lose two spade tricks and went down one in the contract.
Smith writes that there were two chances to make the contract: the heart finesse or finding East with the ace, doubleton of spades.
Smith tried the spades first. After drawing trump, she ended with the queen of diamonds and led a spade to the queen of spades. When it won, she ducked a spade and the ace dropped from East — her contract was made. If East wins with a small spade, Smith gets to the dummy by ruffing the eight of spades, knowing it is high, and takes the heart finesse.
Two chances are usually better than 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.”
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