What & Why (21)

In W&W 20 you were faced with a play problem. The problem came from a normal match point session. Most NS pairs reached 4H, but the bidding was not always as I stated. In some cases, West did NOT open a weak 2D, and in one case it was East who opened with a ‘light’ 1S third in hand. That is where your bidding question came from: would YOU have opened 1S with the East hand? Only one or two of the panelists even considered a 1S opening but when East did open 1S at the club, it made a big difference to the defence, as you will see. The bidding can often influence the play and defence. Let’s take a look at the full deal.

Dealer W All Vul


You are South and declarer in 4H after West has opened a weak 2D and East raised to 3D. West leads the ace of diamonds, and when East signals encouragement, West continues with a second diamond. How would you play the contract?

When two rounds of diamonds are played, there are a number of options for declarer, as suggested by our readers: a) ruff the diamond, draw trumps and play three rounds of clubs. If they break you make your contract. If they don’t, look for your extra chances. b) discard a club on the second diamond and then play three rounds of clubs, ruffing the third. This looks no different to a) but gives the defenders the chance to make their best switch when you let them hold the second diamond. No different to a) really c) ruff the second diamond, draw trumps and immediately duck a club. Much the same as b) and once again clubs need to break, and you give the defence a chance to make the best switch.

Which of the three options above do you prefer and why? Easy if clubs break, but they don’t. Now that you can see all the hands, two questions:
1. WHAT led to declarer’s downfall in 4H after East opened 1S, and
2. How did the two who made 4H after a 2D opening by West make their 4H contract and WHY they should not have.

Replay this board by clicking here.