e-Vil Files 18

Sometimes a decent swing in a teams match can come from a very ordinary deal, especially when the declarer play or defence is not up to scratch. “Cover an honour with an honour” should be well ingrained in most advanced players, and this deal provides a good example of just that.

Board 15 from Tuesday 6/10/2020
Dealer S NS Vul


At one table, after two passes, North opened 1NT. Everyone passed and East led his fourth diamond and was elated when West won the ace. But the good news came to an abrupt end when West had to switch, and switched to the jack of hearts. Declarer won the ace and immediately led the queen of clubs, there being no real alternative. East played low! When West also followed with a low card, declarer was suspicious, but still had no alternative than to continue with a club and play the jack when East again played low. It is standard practice for West to duck the first round and cut declarer off from dummy, but it was East who had the king and had mis-defended rather badly. What did East think was going to happen if he allowed the queen to hold? The next club lead would go through his king once more and the jack would win, as would the rest of the clubs. So just a moment’s thought should tell East that covering the queen is imperative.

When the clubs ran for all five tricks, West discarding hearts (!), declarer made three more heart tricks and, noting that East was now discarding diamonds, put East in with a diamond to be end played in spades for declarer’s king to make as well. +180 for making three overtricks in a 1NT that should have gone down. This declarer would still have made 1NT had East covered the queen of clubs. How? He would have DUCKED the king when East covered, to preserve communication with dummy. East would not be able to take more than two diamond tricks, and declarer would be home, with four club tricks and three hearts. The only way to defeat 1NT is for West to switch to a spade and not a heart, but that would have been clairvoyant rather than sensible. At the other table, WEST played and made 2D after a Hamilton sequence.

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