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The easy life


The following type of misdefence has occurred countless times - which defender was most at fault?

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

West led ♠ Q and declarer - for fear of never making it - correctly won ♠ K. With eight top tricks and several chances for nine, declarer cashed  AKQ. West discarded  3 on the second and  4 on the third. Declarer then cashed dummy’s  AK and followed with ♣ AK. Neither queen appeared so his chances seem to have run out. In desperation he exited with ♠ 8.
West, delighted, won ♠ 9 and started cashing his top ♠s. He led ♠ A and East discarded  10; he followed with ♠ J and East discarded  J. His last two cards were ♠ 10 and ♠ 8 and East’s last two cards were  Q and ♣ Q. At this point he led ♠ 10 and East had to make another discard. After much soul-searching East discarded  Q, and declarer threw ♣ J. West led his  8 but it was declarer who, out-of-the-blue, made the last trick (and his contract) with  J.
Superficially East made the blunder - throwing the wrong queen away at the penultimate trick. But West made a far more culpable error. He knew East’s hand was all winners as soon as declarer did not cash a ninth trick; he should not have cashed his ♠ 10 at the penultimate trick giving his partner a chance to go wrong - rather leading  8 for East to win the last two tricks with  Q and ♣ Q.

ANDREW’S TIP: Make partner’s life easy in defence.

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