Just An Ordinary Day (not)

There are always match points to be gained or lost even on the most ordinary part score hands like this one. The bidding should be pretty well universal: after a pass from East, 1S from South, 1NT from North and 2S from South should close the auction. It is in the declarer play and defence that things may differ.

Board 22 from Thursday 18/04/2019
Dealer E EW Vul


The results ranged from 2S making four to 2S making two. Deep Finesse says South can make three. How should the play go after a low club lead from West?

Against us, South, a very good declarer (most of the time) wasn’t good enough. He did what most competent declarers would do, and let the opening club lead run to his jack, then finessed by leading to dummy’s ten. Then he cashed the ace, intending to discard on it, but North ruffed and declarer could either over ruff or discard a loser, either way we kept declarer to his contract, 2S making two for most of the match points to the defenders. Can you think of a better line of play?

It is not easy to see after a club lead, but the best line is to play dummy’s QUEEN for a finesse at trick one, and when it holds, unblock the jack from hand! Nothing is now surer than that South has led from the king. Winning the club queen, declarer is now in dummy, and can take another finesse, this time in trumps. When declarer leads the queen from dummy, some Norths may even forget to cover which explains how some made four, but proper defence is to cover, and declarer wins and can now cash the jack leaving the boss trump out, then play on clubs by taking the finesse (you see now why unblocking was so necessary), then discard a loser on the ace of clubs.

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