Tactical Moves in Play by Terence Reese

Terence Reese
Terence Reese

On many hands declarer can count sufficient tricks for his contract but his difficulty lies in being at the right place at the right time. In a word, he has entry trouble.

Dealer South All Vul

 6 5 4 3
 K 10 8 6 2
 A 5
 10 7
 K Q 10 7
 J 7 5 4
 74 3
 6 2
 9 4
 9 3
 Q J 10 6
 Q J 9 8 4
 A J 8
 A Q
 K 9 8 2
 A K 5 3

The Auction:

West North East South
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 3NT End

Lead: K

West’s opens the K, East plays the 4 and South the 8. The hold up in this situation has the added advantage that it leaves declarer with a major tenace, the A-J against Q-10, so that West cannot continue the suit without giving up an extra trick.

From his partner’s play of the 4 West judges that South had the A-J, so he switches to a diamond. South plays low from dummy and heads the 10 with the K.

Outside the heart suit declarer has five top tricks and little chance of making any more than that. His problem is therefore clear cut: how to make four tricks from the hearts.

The obvious play is to lay down  A Q, then cross to A and lead the K. That play will succeed if the hearts are 3-3 or if the J is doubleton. Leading the A and overtaking the Q provides an extra chance that of finding the doubleton 9.

South gives up a trick to the Jack and makes the last two hearts when he enters dumy with the A