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Examine the entry situation

Consider the following suit combinations:

(a)   (b) (c)
AK2
.......
AQ3
.......
AQ3
.......
3 K2 K42

In (a) and (b), there is an “overlapping winner” in dummy. In other words there is the opportunity to play out the suit and dispose of a loser (in another suit) from hand. Not so in (c), where the suit is sterile, giving you nothing. If you, as declarer in your trump contract, have too many top losers, you must play out your top cards a.s.a.p in (a) and (b), enabling you to throw a loser. Leave (c) alone, however, with nothing to gain and the possibility of a winner being trumped.

On this deal, there appear to be two overlapping winners in spades. Or are there? It is a test of foresight versus greed.

South Deals
None Vul
A Q 3
J 9 5
7 6 2
Q 10 4 2
10 8 7 4
7 3
K Q 10 5
A 8 7
 
N
W   E
S
 
J 9 6 5 2
A 6
J 9 3
9 5 3
 
K
K Q 10 8 4 2
A 8 4
K J 6
West North East South
      1 
Pass 1 NT Pass 3 1
Pass 4  All pass  
  1. Only just worth the 16+ point jump,
    with singleton  K of questionable value.

 

What happened
Winning  K lead with  A (East carefully signalling encouragement with  9, holding an equal honour,  J, to partner’s  KQ sequence), declarer eyed up the spades. He saw the opportunity to discard both his losing diamonds on dummy’s overlapping  AQ. At Trick Two declarer cashed  K, then sought a way of reaching dummy’s  AQ. He tried  2 to  J. No good. East won  A, and the defence promptly cashed two diamonds plus  A. Down one.

What should have happened
Declarer must realise that there is no quick entry to dummy, except in the spade suit itself. Only needing to shed one diamond (he can afford to lose one diamond trick, to go with  A and  A), he makes the key play at Trick Two of overtaking  K with  A, then cashing  Q discarding  4. Now he leads trumps, and loses the three tricks as above, but not the second diamond. 10 tricks and game made.

If you remember one thing...
Examine the entry position when playing “overlapping winners”.

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