How would you play it ? By Milton Work

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At most of the tables South became the Declarer with a four-Heart contract. A few Wests had the nerve to risk a contract of five Clubs, which…

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Collier’s for May 3, 1930

colliersAt most of the tables South became the Declarer with a four-Heart contract. A few Wests had the nerve to risk a contract of five Clubs, which they had the good luck to make without difficulty, and one West played at five Diamonds, but failed to get his eleven tricks. It is interesting to note in this deal how much more effectively West can manage his twenty-six cards with Clubs the trump than with Diamonds.

The Play

When West played with Clubs the trump, his adversaries took in two Hearts and then forced the closed hand with a Spade; but Declarer was careful to ruff with an honor, and after that was able to put East in the lead on the third round of trumps so that the Diamond could come from dummy and catch South’s King and Jack. In this way Declarer made five-odd without difficulty. With Diamonds the trump, West lost two Hearts and one Diamond.

When the hand was played by South with Hearts the trump, most of the Declarers failed to make the ten tricks needed for game and contract, because of a little carelessness on a seemingly unimportant point in the play. Of course Clubs were led and South ruffed the second trick. Declarers who played thoughtlessly did this ruffing with the Five, noting that dummy had an entry with the Queen of Hearts and not appreciating that dummy might need two entries. The possibility of this would be remote had West not shown two suits so earnestly, but after West’s bidding, the chance that he was Spadeless should have been considered by the Declarer. On general principles it is advisable to arrange for ample entries in both hands; and with Declarer’s six-card Five-to-Ten Heart sequence, it was far wiser to ruff with the Nine or Ten than with the Five.

The Heart Declarers who thoughtlessly ruffed with the Five then led the Ace and King of trumps, exhausting the adverse Hearts, and next led a Spade. West’s refusal was embarrassing; it was obvious that dummy could be put in with the Queen of Hearts to lead Spades once through East, but one such lead was insufficient to accomplish Declarer’s purpose as East would cover with one of his Spade honors and must eventually take a trick with the other. This would give East the opportunity to lead Diamonds, and consequently Declarer could take only nine tricks; losing one Club, one Spade and two Diamonds.

The one or two Declarers who played with care ruffed the second Club with the Nine or Ten of Hearts, and consequently, after West refused Spades, they were able to put dummy in the lead twice—dummy’s Heart Eight and Queen being entries over South’s Five and Nine or Ten. Two Spade leads through East’s Jack-Ten-Five (his Trey having been played on trick 1) were all that were needed to insure the taking of all five Spade tricks. Of course on the fifth Spade North got a discard; but by that time that hand was out of trumps and the Declarer was obliged to lose his two Diamonds which, plus the one Club lost on the first trick, made a total of three tricks for the adversaries but left the Declarer with enough tricks for game.

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