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“Leave a space for the trump suit, please” pleaded the declarer as dummy put down a side suit in the space normally reserved for the trump suit. “I would” partner replied “were there any need to do so!”

Your bidding had landed you in 4Heart-small with a reasonable trump suit of your own. You had 6 and the opposition had the rest! Also, it got worse before it got better! Let’s see all four hands:

Board 9
North Deals
E-W Vul
8 7 5
Q 5 4 3
A K 10 7 6 2
9 6 4 3
Q 10 9 7
Q J 9 5
W   E
J 10
J 6 3
A J 10 9 8 6
8 4
A K Q 2
A K 8 5 4 2
K 2
West North East South
  Dummy You  
  Pass 2  Dbl
Pass 3  Pass 3 
Pass 3 NT Pass 4 
All pass      


The Opening Lead

On Friday, we had left you with the East hand and dummy. After the initial Diamond-small7 lead, we asked you how you would start the defence. You had opened 2Diamond-small, a Weak 2 (6 card suit and 6-10 high card points). You can see 11 of the 13 diamonds. Where is the king?

If your partner had all three diamonds not in your hand or dummy, they should lead their lowest, Diamond-small2.   They did not.

If they had the king and one other, they would lead the king, top of the doubleton.                                  They did not.

Therefore, South must have the king. So, put up the ace and return a diamond as you know your partner must have started with just one diamond. They will use a trump to beat South's king. That would get the defence off to a good start.

West trumped the Diamond-smallK and exited a low spade to East’s 10 and your queen.

Back to Declarer

No panic. Remember the basic rule of declarer suit play. Draw the opponents’ trumps, if you can, quickly.

Can you? Well, you could try! Play your ace, then your king and finally a small trump as your Heart-small8 will never win the third round of the suit. Both opponents following each time. Are you counting? You started with 6 trumps. West has shown up with four (including the ruff) and East with three! That’s 13. They have no more trumps out…and you have only lost three tricks so far! Maybe it sun appears from behind clouds.jpg  is getting better!

West exited a second spade to East’s jack and your king.

Discarding your potential loser

What to do? You have only trumps left in your hand along with a small club and the Spade-smallA and a small spade. What is your plan? You cannot afford to lose any more tricks.

Hopefully, you decided to play that club as you still have Club-smallAK on the dummy:


You play Club-small3 to dummy’s ace and next play Club-smallK and discard the only potential loser in your hand, Spade-small2. Remember the dummy hand is for your use. Use it well. Contract 4Heart-small bid and made: +420.

No trumps. No worries. Well, just a few but all was well in the end!

Play Note: Remember to draw trumps as soon as you can. Also, look to dummy as a place where you can get rid of a loser in your hand, as the Club-smallK (or indeed Diamond-smallQ) did on this board.

Richard Solomon

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