ELEGANT AND SIMPLE
November 10, 2012
A terrific hand came up Thursday at Jourdan’s:
The auction was different at just about every table, as it often is when a freak hand comes up. No one really knows how to bid these hands, we just do the best we can. Almost everyone ended up in some number of clubs, some in game and some in slam.
13 tricks are easy on any lead but a diamond. Declarer wins in hand, draws trump in two rounds, and then unblocks the Ace of spades. He then crosses to dummy with the Ace of diamonds to discard his remaining diamonds on the Ace of hearts and king-queen of spades.
The situation is completely different after a diamond lead. Dummy’s only entry is knocked out while the spades are still blocked. It looks like the lucky lie of the trump suit will allow declarer to hold his losses to two diamond tricks. Can declarer still make six after a diamond lead? Look closely and see if you can spot the way.
The solution is simple and elegant. Declarer wins the Ace of diamonds and then cashes the Ace of hearts, discarding the Ace of spades! This excellent play allows declarer to cash the King and Queen of spades, discarding two diamonds. He will still lose one diamond eventually, but now the lucky fall of the trumps allows him to make six. Well played!