Bridge – The Scotsman 28/12/2012

HERE is another example of overcoming entry problems by overtaking an honour with an honour. 3NT is a bit of a punt by South, but he thought that contract was as likely to succeed as 3, so he went for the game bonusaaxx

West led the two of spades, which ran to declarer’s jack.

The two was a fourth highest lead, so there was some good news – spades were breaking 4-4 and the defenders could cash only three when they gained the lead. With a spade in the bag declarer could count six Sure Tricks: a spade, a heart, two diamonds and two clubs. He might establish clubs by finessing the jack.

If that scores he cashes the king and returns to hand to make the rest of the suit – provided it breaks 3-2. That requires two good things to happen, and if the finesse loses to the queen the defenders will surely switch to hearts, removing one of your entries before the clubs and diamonds are unblocked. An alternative approach is to lead a club to the king, then run the jack, expecting to lose a club but establishing the suit for five winners. That works better – but West may duck with Qxxx, and again there is no entry to the ace of diamonds.

The best line is to overtake the king of diamonds with the ace and drive out the queen. That brings five diamond tricks, with the king of clubs as an entry, and no blockages to stop you cashing your high card separately.