Trials and Errors

Dealer: South
Both sides vulnerable

S Q 10 7 6
H 9 8
D K 10 9 8
C A J 4
S 5 2
H 10 7 6 4 3
D A 4 2
C Q 7 3
S 8 3
H K J 5 2
D Q 7 5
C K 10 6 2
S A K J 9 4
D J 6 3
C 9 8 5
1 SPass3 SPass
4 SAll Pass
Opening Lead: H 4

“Your honor,” the district attorney stated, “we will prove that East committed a felony. He let South make a hopeless game.””Proceed,” said the judge.

“West led a heart against four spades,” the DA began: “eight, king, ace. Declarer drew trumps and led a diamond to dummy’s ten. When East took the queen, he returned a heart, and South won and led another diamond. He set up a diamond in dummy for a club discard, losing two diamonds and a club.”

“Objection!” East’s counsel roared. “True, East beats four spades with a club switch at Trick Five, but that would require a crystal ball.”

Did East commit a crime?


East was guilty. He must play the jack on the first heart. When South takes the queen and draws trumps, East knows the defense needs two club tricks and two diamonds. Hence he must switch to a club when he takes the queen of diamonds.

If instead South won the first heart with the ace, East could lead a heart at Trick Five, and West would return a club.


You hold:
S5 2
H10 7 6 4 3
DA 4 2
CQ 7 3
. The dealer, at your left, opens one diamond. Your partner doubles, you bid one heart and he raises to two hearts. What do you say?

Partner has a hand worth at least 17 points with four-card support. He wouldn’t raise with less since you might have no points and poor hearts. Bid four hearts. If the opening bid had been one club, your queen might be worthless and you wouldn’t be as aggressive.

Copyright © 2015, Tribune Media Services

About the Author:

Frank Stewart is one of the world's most prolific bridge journalists. He won many tournament events before devoting himself to writing. Frank has published hundreds of magazine and on-line articles. He has written 24 books, among them "Becoming an Expert," "Play Bridge With Me," "Who Has the Queen?" and most recently "Keys to Winning Bridge." In 2014, Frank Stewart received the International Bridge Press Association's Alan Truscott Award. He has been the senior analyst for ACBL-wide Charity and International Fund events since 1980. Frank and his wife, Charlotte, a pediatric speech pathologist, live in Fayette AL. They have a 17-year-old daughter.

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