Hands that are not
SOME of the best plays in bridge never actually happen. Some columnist have been known to "adjust" their stories afterwards, but I will be completely honest.
We spotted the winning play only some while after this week’s hand was over.
At both tables in a match, South reached Six Spades after the bidding One Spade-Two Diamonds; Two Hearts-Three Spades; Four No-Trumps-Five Diamonds; Six Spades.
It was simple but effective. One west led the Queen of Clubs and the play was soon over. After cashing his two top Hearts, declarer peacefully cross-ruffed his way to 12 tricks, conceding a Diamond at the end. The other West led a trump and now there were only 11 tricks in sight.
Rather than risk everything with a finesse in Hearts, South tried to establish the suit with two ruffs but the 5-2 break meant he was still a trick short.
Although we all agreed the Heart finesse was far too risky (although it would have won), it was not until much later that we saw the winning play.
Supposing the declarer starts by ruffing Clubs in hand before tackling the Hearts?
There is still time to use the Hearts if they behave but after they turn sour, the end position, after playing the last trump, is that dummy is left with DQJ10, declarer with HKJD3 and west with DH98; while East is still looking for a discard from HQ9 DA6.
To throw a Heart is immediately fatal; if he parts with D6 he is thrown in with the Ace to lead a Heart, and if he jettisons DA, a Diamond lead leaves dummy with two tricks.
What a pity it did not happen at the