Mark Horton

Misdefend this hand with me

Having penned a modestly well received book entitled Misplay these hands with me, it is not too difficult to envisage a couple of subsequent titles involving accidents in both bidding and defense.

This deal from the Senior KO could easily feature in all three categories:

Dealer: West

Vul: North/South

Q 6 5
10 9 8 5 3 2
A 10 6
West East
K 8 7 A 10 3
K Q J 9 A 7 4
J 6 K 7 4
Q 5 4 2 K 9 7 3
J 9 4 2
10 8 6 3 2
J 8
West North East South
Alder Horton
1 Pass 2 * Pass
3NT All Pass

* Inverted Raise

The only lead to genuinely defeat 3NT is a low spade – difficult but not totally impossible when you know dummy does not have a four card major.

When North starts with the ten of diamonds South wins the first trick with the queen, and does best to cash the ace of diamonds before switching to a major suit.

Let’s say South tries a heart and declarer wins in hand and plays a club. When North follows with the six declarer should cover with the seven. South can win, but declarer cannot be prevented from developing the two club tricks that are required to bring home the game.

If declarer makes the mistake of putting up dummy’s king of clubs, then South must unblock the jack, giving North the two entries he needs to establish the diamond suit and eventually cash the setting trick.

Alternatively declarer can win the heart switch in dummy and play a club to the queen, but if South happens to find a spade switch after taking two diamond tricks then declarer can win with dummy’s ace, but must then come to hand with a heart and play a low club, again finessing when North plays low.

In practice South decided not to cash the ace of diamonds before switching, so declarer was under no pressure and easily recorded +400.

At the other table the bidding was less than accurate:

West North East South
1hx Pass 3NT* Pass
4 All Pass

3NT should have been a good heart raise.

When North led a diamond South took two tricks and switched to a club. When North put up the ace declarer’s hopes rose, but quickly fell when the 5-1 trump break came to light.

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