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Routine errors

Perhaps you do not think East’s defensive problem is too tough. Yet every single player in my club duplicate went wrong. Cover up the West and South hands and put them to shame! 

East Deals
N-S Vul
♠ 10 5 4 3
K Q 7 5 3
K 5
♣ 10 3
♠ Q 8 6
J 9 8 6
6 2
♣ 8 7 5 4
W   E
♠ 9
A 10 2
A Q 8 7 3
♣ K Q 6 2
  ♠ A K J 7 2
J 10 9 4
♣ A J 9
West North East South
    1 1 ♠
Pass 3 ♠ Pass 4 ♠
Pass Pass Pass
4 ♠ by South


 West led ♦6, dummy played ♦5 and you as East win ♦Q. And now?

Playing too quickly, you might table ♦A. If so, you have established declarer’s ♦J10 and dummy’s ♣ loser can be discarded. You must switch to ♣K at trick two. That way you are sure to take four tricks - ♥A, ♦AQ and ♣Q.

Declarer’s best counter on ♣K switch from East is to duck smoothly. If East sleepily continues with a ♣, declarer can finesse ♣J and discard dummy’s ♦K on ♣A. After ♣K is allowed to win, East should cash ♦A and wait for ♥A.

All the participants in my duplicate said they realised their error - cashing ♦A at trick two rather than switching to ♣K - a split second too late. There is no prize for defending a hand in under a minute. By taking a little longer you will become more adept at analytical thinking and thus to be a better (and quicker) player in the future.

ANDREW’S TIP: Take a split second before playing any card that is not completely routine.


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