Wednesday Play at The Hutt (05)

Another very good reason for having a TRUMP suit is that there are invariably more options in the declarer play, giving you ways of improving your score without taking risks that you would not be able to take if you were playing in No Trumps.

Board 17 from Wednesday 17/02/2021
Dealer N Nil Vul


Once again I will not talk about the bidding, suffice to say that out of eleven East West pairs to play this deal, only three were in 4S; three were in 3NT, and five were not even in game. More attention to bidding please. But now about the play. When West was in 3NT, the bidding should have suggested to North that a HEART lead was best, but a diamond was also an option. I noted that when North led a diamond, the lead was the eight, ‘fourth highest’. The correct lead is the QUEEN, having the QJ combination followed by the 987. I hope you see why, and what happened when the eight was led. But let’s get back to those Easts in 4S and why playing in 4S should have given these declarers the opportunity to show their skills and make all the tricks, which one declarer actually did do.

Firstly, let’s look at what should happen if West is playing in 3NT and North makes the sensible lead of the QUEEN OF HEARTS. This hits declarer’s weakness and declarer can now take ten more tricks, a total of eleven. Taking any finesses is too risky because the heart suit is now wide open. But what happens when EAST is playing in 4S? South starts with a low heart lead, which runs to North’s JACK (in third seat play the LOWER of touching honours) and declarer wins the ace. It is now easy for declarer to draw trumps and play two top diamonds from dummy and discard declarer’s heart loser. The club suit remains to be played, and declarer can now play it according to the odds: the king first then the the two, finessing the jack if South plays low. Thirteen easy tricks for a) being in the best contract and b) knowing how to safely play it ‘to the max’. Replay this board by clicking here.

As a special exercise, I have a challenge for the reader: send me your suggestion of how East West should bid the hands. A prize is on offer for the most sensible bidding sequence. ALL entries including from X-clubs readers, will be considered, by email to