Reading Eagle – 6 Ene 1973
The nature of the game is such that sensational plays come few and far between, but, when the occasion does arise, one should of course try to meet the challenge.
East dealer. Neither side vulnerable.
Opening lead — 8
Consider this deal where West led a heart. South won the ten with the King, played a club to the Ace and returned a diamond — which he won with the King. He then played a club to the King, East discarding a spade, and returned a diamond — which he won with the Queen. When South now played a low diamond, East took the Ace but was in a helpless position, whatever he returned.
Eventually declarer finished with ten tricks. But East could have stopped the contract by discarding the Ace of diamonds at the point when declarer entered dummy for a second time with a club. This sensational play would have put an end to South’s chances.
Declarer would have found himself unable to make more than two diamond tricks without putting West on lead, and a heart return by West in such case would have rendered the contract stone cold dead. Declarer could alternatively take a spade finesse at trick five, but he would still have found himself limited to eight tricks.
Discarding the Ace of diamonds is certainly an extraordinary play for anyone to make, but it is far from impossible under the circumstances. South’s notrump overcall had indicated 16 to 18 points, and virtually every missing high card was therefore marked to be in declarer’s hand.
East’s only real hope was to credit West with the Jack of diamonds — and, in fact, that card had to be with West or the contract was unstoppable. Discarding the Ace of diamonds was therefore the right move. All East had to do was think of it.