16th December 2015

Teams E-W Vulnerable Dealer South (deal rotated for convenience)

S Q4
H KJ93
C A987

H 10862
D 8532
C 106

1S Double
2H 2S 4H Pass

Another deal from Manchester's successful Tollemache qualifying event.   West leads a spade which goes to East's king and your ace.  You play the heart eight which West wins with the ace, East following low.  West now plays another spade, you win in dummy, what now?


Try to work out the distribution of the West and East hands.

Solution and analysis

West should have six spades for the two spade call holding no high honours.  Why hasn't he led a diamond?  The conclusion is that he is 6304 or 6205 and East is correspondingly 2263 or 2362.  You need to get back to hand to play another trump for a finesse against the queen.  The only way to do this is via a club ruff.  You should play ace and another club.  It will do East no good to win the club and give West a diamond ruff as he will just be ruffing a loser, so when West wins and plays a third spade you trump with the nine in dummy and then ruff a club back to hand, take the trump finesse and ruff another club (West had a 6304 distribution), then play a diamond towards dummy.  West can ruff this but he is ruffing a loser, otherwise win a top diamond and draw the last trump, coming to three trumps in dummy, two spades, two diamonds a club and two trumps in hand for ten in total.  If you make the mistake of playing a small club off dummy without cashing the ace, West will win and play a third spade, you trump with the nine in dummy and if East originally held two clubs he will discard a club and then ruff the club ace and give his partner a diamond ruff for four tricks to the defence.

Thanks to John Holland for providing this deal and the analysis