THREE no-trumps would have been an absolutely straightforward affair on this week’s hand but, with 11 Clubs between them, North-South wound their way to Five Clubs.
As all players agreed afterwards, it made the play more interesting.
South dealt at love all and opened One Club. (A good case, in spite of only 19 high card points, could be made for Two No-trumps.) West over-called with One Spade and, after some competition, the final contract was Five Clubs.
West led the King of Spades and the play to the first eight tricks was routine. Declarer ruffed two Hearts in hand, one Spade in dummy and drew trumps ending on the table.
This left both North and South with two trumps and the as yet untouched Diamond suit. Declarer next played a low Diamond from dummy.
If East had played low, the plan was to cover with the six — doubtless losing to West but end-playing him and ensuring the loss of only two tricks in the suit.
Suspecting what was coming, East did
well to go in with the eight of Diamonds on the first round of the suit.
Declarer, deprived of his sure end-play, covered with the King and now
lost three tricks in the suit to go one off. That was not very brigh of
him — there was no rush to play East for the Ace. Suppose he just
plays low on East’s eight? There will still be time for a Diamond
guess if East retains the lead and — this is the point — as the
cards lie, West has to overtake and declarer is home and dry.