Steven Wright, a standup comedian, said, “Someone asked me: If I were stranded on a desert island, what book would I bring? ... ‘How to Build a Boat.’ ”
It is fun for the defenders to strand declarer in one hand or the other. In this deal, how should the defense go against four hearts after West leads the spade 10?
In the bidding, South’s three-heart rebid set the suit as trumps, in principle guaranteeing a solid suit; but South decided it was worth the slight risk. When North raised to four hearts, he denied slam interest and strongly implied no aces. South, trusting his partner, passed.
Based on the bidding and the dummy, East realized that his side needed to take one spade, one diamond and two clubs. There was a strong temptation to shift to a club at trick two. But if East had done that, South would have put up his king and been able to ruff a club on the board.
The winning defense is a diamond shift by East at trick two. West takes that trick and exits with a trump. If South immediately leads the club king or queen, West can win with his ace and play his last trump. Or, if South draws trumps before playing clubs, the defenders will take one spade, one diamond and two clubs.
In a teams match, one declarer went down as described. At the other table, though, East tried a trump at trick two. South drew trumps and led his diamond. West took that trick and exited with a low club. Declarer captured East’s jack with his king and led the club queen. West won and played his last club, but South claimed, his 10-eight sitting over East’s remaining nine-six.
© 2018 United Feature Syndicate