DECLARER PLAY PROBLEM #6

Rubber bridge
North dealer
Neither side vulnerable

 NORTH ♠ A 4 3 ♥ 10 3 2 ♦ 8 7 4 2 ♣ A 8 2 SOUTH ♠ K Q J 8 ♥ A K 8 5 4 ♦ A 6 5 ♣ 5
SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
PassPass
1 Pass1 NTPass
2 Pass4 Pass
PassPass

Plan the play.

### Solution

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

PLAY IT SAFE. South can make the contract by avoiding the loss of more than one heart trick. The first play in hearts should be to cash the ace or king, and then, because West dropped the jack, the second play should be to lead a low heart towards the ten in dummy; when West shows out, declarer should play dummy's ten, which loses to East's queen. Eventually, declarer finesses East out of the nine. Alternatively, declarer can make the contract by cashing one top heart, leading to dummy's ace of spades, leading a low heart (but not the ten) and playing the eight from his hand if East follows low. Either of these safety plays give South the maximum chance to make the heart game.

Note that it would be inferior to lead the ten of hearts from the dummy. This line of play fails if East ducks the first-round lead of the ten or covers the second-round lead of the ten. Declarer lacks the entries to lead hearts often enough from dummy.

A small improvement is to ruff a club in the closed hand at trick two. Then, should the ace of hearts drop only low cards and trumps break four-one, declarer can yet succeed if the defender with four trumps has at least four spades, one diamond and three clubs. After seeing the four-one trump break, South enters dummy to ruff another clubs, then cashes top-card winners (taking four spades, four trumps including two ruffs, and the minor-suit aces). In the main line of play, where East wins the second round of trumps from queen-jack-seven-six, queen-nine-seven-six or jack-nine-seven-six, declarer can successfully discard diamonds if the defense leads more clubs, ruffing the fourth club in dummy if necessary.

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

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