Ottawa Citizen – 22 May 1974
To demonstrate that the necessity of keeping the dangerous hand out of the lead is often overlooked, today’s deal is submitted. The hand was played in a rubber-bridge game in Stockholm, Sweden, earlier this year. Neither side is vulnerable. North deals.
Opening lead: 5
On West’s lead of the heart five East put up the nine, and South captured the trick with the ten-pot. There were 11 top tricks if the five adversely-held diamonds were divided 3-2, as they rated to be normally. So, without thinking things through, South next cashed his king of diamonds, after which he led a diamond to dummy’s ace. West discarded the spade three. Having only 8 sure tricks now, declarer then cashed the queen of diamonds, and the queen, king, and ace of spades. Next the ace of clubs was taken, and this was followed by another club with the hope that West would be forced to win his trick: and that the latter would then lead a heart.
But East won the second club lead and returned a heart. West now took four tricks, to hand declarer a one-trick set. Declarer was unlucky in finding the outstanding diamonds divided 4-1, but he could have played the hand in better fashion to make sure that East would not obtain the lead to play a heart through South’s remaining doubleton K-J.
After winning the opening heart lead, declarer should have led a spade to the board’s ace at trick two. Next would come a low diamond, South inserting his nine spot when East would play low. West would have won this trick with his singleton ten West would then return, let us say, a club (it didn’t matter what West played back). The trick being won by dummy’s ace. Now a diamond would be led to South’s king, after which the board would be re-entered via the spade king. Dummy’s four remaining diamonds would next be cashed, and that would be that.
Played as recommended, declarer would make three spades, five diamonds, one heart and one club of course, if East had the J-10-x-x of diamonds then declarer couldn’t prevent East from winning a diamond trick. In this case, declarer could attribute his defeat to circumstances beyond his control.