For Whom the Bell Tolls
By Maureen Hiron
Playing in the semi-finals of a world championship takes its toll.
This deal came along in the final session of the semi-finals and I’ve been informed – I don’t know how reliably – that 6 out of the 8 Easts toiling in 3NT went down. And as is so often the case it all related to the play at trick one.
North led a diamond. And declarer played low from dummy. South’s’s singleton king took the trick – and back came the queen of hearts. When the smoke had cleared, declarer was mournfully writing 300 in the opponent’s column.
The danger is a heart through the king. So it’s surely right to rise with the ace. And when the king drops, that’s a bonus for clean living and all worries are over. But even if it hadn’t, clubs can then be cashed and a spade finesse taken into the hand that cannot profitably attack hearts. You are assured of 8 tricks – and South first has to find a bunch of discards on the clubs.