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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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