A fine declarer is like the diligent detective who does a lot of legwork gathering all the information he can before he finally gets around to cracking the case.
Take this deal where declarer is in six notrump. West leads the king of hearts, and South could easily make the slam if he knew where the queen of diamonds was located. He could either play for the drop or take a finesse in the right direction to bring home 12 tricks.
But South does not know at the outset who has the queen, and his job is to try to locate the missing damsel. To this end, by far his best initial move is to play the jack of hearts on the king at trick one!
There is a very good reason for this play, and in the actual case it works like a charm. West can do no better than continue with a second heart, and when East shows out, South learns that West started with seven hearts.
This goes a long way toward solving declarer’s diamond problem. South pursues his quarry by next cashing three rounds of spades, learning that West started with exactly two spades. He then cashes the A-K-Q of clubs and learns that West also started with two clubs.
The question of how to play the diamonds is now resolved. Declarer’s investigation has shown that West started with precisely seven hearts, two spades and two clubs — and therefore two diamonds.
So South cashes the K-A of diamonds with absolute assurance that the queen will fall, and the slam comes rolling home.
Bridge club results
The Northampton Bridge Club welcomes anyone who wishes to play duplicate bridge. Open pairs game: 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 1 Atwood Drive, Northampton. The club manager is available at 253-3508 to assist players in need of partners. The club’s website is www.northamptonbridgeclub.com.
There were 11 tables in play June 18.
North-South, overall winners: 3.50R/B Timothy Joder-Philippe Galaski, 63.22; 2.00R/B Esther Bean-Markus Wagner, 61.28; 1.48R/B Paul Bacon-Muriel Dane, 60.42; 0.61R/B Evalyn Glickman-Roger Miller, 51.49; 0.70R/B Irene Friedman-Henry Hewitt, 50.33; Strata B: 3.50R/B Timothy Joder-Philippe Galaski, 63.22; Strata C: 3.50R/B Timothy Joder-Philippe Galaski, 63.22; East-West, overall winners: 2.63R/B Sonja Smith-David Rock, 63.06; 1.23R/B James Hastings-John Sedgwick, 58.40; 0.88R/B Leo Sartori-Robert Sagor, 53.48; 1.50R/B Sally Zigmond-Israel Koren, 53.02; 1.13R/B Joanne O’leary-Mary Ann Phoenix, 52.30; Bernard Miller-James Osofsky, 51.82; 0.84R/B Anne McCune-James Nowill, 50.41; Strata B: 2.63R/B Sonja Smith-David Rock, 63.06; Strata C: 2.63R/B Sonja Smith-David Rock, 63.06