DECLARER PLAY PROBLEM #12

Rubber bridge
South dealer
Neither side vulnerable

 NORTH ♠ 7 6 2 ♥ J 8 5 ♦ A 10 5 2 ♣ K 7 6 SOUTH ♠ K Q J ♥ A K Q ♦ K Q 8 3 ♣ A Q 8
SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
3 NTPass6 NTPass
PassPass

West leads the ten of spades. East wins the spade ace and returns the spade five.

Plan the play.

### Solution

 NORTH ♠ 7 6 2 ♥ J 8 5 ♦ A 10 5 2 ♣ K 7 6 WEST ♠ 10 9 8 4 3 ♥ 10 9 7 4 3 ♦ 4 ♣ 10 2 EAST ♠ A 5 ♥ 6 2 ♦ J 9 7 6 ♣ J 9 5 4 3 SOUTH ♠ K Q J ♥ A K Q ♦ K Q 8 3 ♣ A Q 8

COUNT IT OUT. To make the four diamond tricks he needs, declarer should gather information about the East-West hands while retaining an entry to dummy to allow for the possibility of double finessing in diamonds against East. No extra entry is needed if declarer decides to play West for four diamonds. Since dummy's only non-diamond entry is the club king, declarer should arrange for the last five cards in the North-South hands to be four diamonds and a club, with dummy's club the king.

If nothing exciting happens when declarer cashes his off-suit tricks, there will be no reason to depart from the usual play in diamonds, cashing the king and queen first. However, as the cards lie East discards on the third round of each major, marking West with five-five in those suits. When West follows suit twice in clubs, that defender is marked with at most one diamond. Therefore, declarer should lead to the diamond ace and continue the suit, planning to finesse. If East splits his jack-nine, declarer can return to the club king to take another diamond finesse.

(Based on a deal and analysis from the 1963 National Intercollegiate Par-Hand Bridge Tournament by William S. Root and Lawrence Rosler.)

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