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Think in patterns

North-South bid optimistically to Game despite only holding 21 points. But West was no Sherlock Holmes and his uninspired defence allowed the contract to make.

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

West led  A which held the trick, East following with  6. He followed with  K, East playing  9. Hoping East had no s remaining, West continued with  2. Dummy’s  Q won and declarer discarded ♣ 4. He cashed  AK, trumped  3 with ♠ 6 and so established his long ♠s; he then cashed his ♠ AK and claimed the remainder, conceding just one trick to ♠ Q. West could have defeated the contract by switching to a ♣ after cashing  AK. How should he have known?

East had played first  6 then  9 under  AK. If he had only held a doubleton , he would signalled encouragement by playing first  9 then  6. So West should have known that it was declarer who held the doubleton . Why should West have switched specifically to ♣s, looking at such strength in the dummy? Declarer had opened the bidding 1 ♠, then rebid s. Such a sequence indicates 5-5 in the two suits, leaving just three other cards. Two of them have been revealed as s, therefore he has a singleton ♣. West must lead a ♣ immediately or else declarer will discard it in dummy’s  Q (as he did). East will win ♣ A and later score ♠ Q to defeat the contract.

ANDREW’S TIP: Work out declarer’s hand-pattern using clues from the bidding and the play to date.


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