DECLARER PLAY PROBLEM #22

Rubber bridge
West dealer
East-West vulnerable

 NORTH ♠ A 10 9 ♥ 7 5 2 ♦ 4 3 ♣ A J 9 5 2 SOUTH ♠ K Q J ♥ A Q J ♦ A Q J 10 9 8 ♣ 3
SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
PassPassPass
1 Pass2 Pass
3 Pass3 Pass
4 Pass5 Pass
6 PassPassPass

Plan the play.

### Solution

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

PERCENTAGE AND PSYCHOLOGY. Declarer should plan to use his two entries to dummy to finesse in hearts. If the heart finesse works, it is virtually certain that the contract is made. In contrast, if declarer finesses in diamonds, even if the trump king is onside a second finesse in that suit may not avoid a loser--the contract may still fail if trumps divide unfavorably. Furthermore, although West might well hold off with the protected king of diamonds, to induce South to waste a dummy entry on a losing finesse--this is a trick that cannot be lost, so a hold-up is safe--it is far less likely that West will duck the king of hearts when declarer takes a heart finesse at trick three. So, even if the heart king is offside, declarer may get a chance to take one finesse in diamonds, offering an additional opportunity of doubleton diamond king onside.

(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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