Ross Taylor

It’s your play – second solution

Sitting West, no one vul, you hold 542  J875  KJ2  1065, and hear your opponents bid up to 6 clubs on the following auction:


South West North East
    Pass Pass
1C Pass 1H Pass
2S Pass 3C Pass
3H Pass 4D Pass
5C Pass 6C Pass
Pass Pass    


And you choose to lead……?

As it happens, the opponents were both in the dark as to the strength of West’s 3C bid, so no help there. I received several email responses to this problem – some led a trump; others led a low diamond; a couple even led a heart (!) speculating partner might be void in hearts but fearful of doubling 6C lest the opponents run back to a makeable 6H.

Here was the whole layout :



Dealer: North

Vul: None

West East
432 J10765
J875 K10
KJ2 8543
1065 A9


North bid one for the road, for no discernible reason I can see. Still, on this particular layout, no lead beats the contract against best declarer play. 

I thought  a diamond lead was marked, for many reasons. It may establish the setting trick if partner has the queen; it may induce declarer to eschew a diamond finesse at trick one – and find out later that the hearts are not breaking; and it attacks dummy’s entry to the heart suit.

The prescient heart lead will force declarer into double finessing the diamond suit, and pitching his heart loser on the diamond Ace. Win the heart ace; diamond to the ten; spade to the ace; diamond to the queen; ace of diamonds. Now a club off the dummy. Best defense is for East to duck the first club play. South ruffs a spade in the dummy and leads another club and the defense is powerless – no uppercut possible.

Alas, even if you lead a low diamond, declarer still has not much hope but to double hook the diamonds – he is off the club ace for sure, and must avoid losing any tricks in the red suits.


Bobby WolffMarch 16th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Hi Ross,

I, too, led a diamond, but alas, to no avail.

You might ask North sometime when next you see him, what happened to the hand he was bidding before he exposed it. It seemed to have markedly changed and 100% for the worse. The sight of it might have left me speechless, a condition many would approve of.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFMarch 16th, 2010 at 7:55 pm


As you notice, I usually blog and comment on the subjects in which I am best versed: 1) Trips Down Bridge Memory Lane where age has its definite advantage; and 2) Fighting for positive causes which may help to make a dent in some small measure against the ugly temptations that the game has fallen prey to, namely 1) Politics; 2) Personal agendas; and 3) The biggest lure of all — money.

When it comes to certain subjects and hands which appear on our blogsite, I peruse them out of curiosity — but I don’t profess to be a self-styled analyst and wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole as I recognize I am not qualified. However, over breakfast, Bobby gave me the North hand and questioned what I would rebid. I looked at him in a bewildered state. With 6 of my eight points in the unbid suit (AQ10x of diamonds), I sheepishly replied, “What else can you rebid but 2NT?” He grinned with whole-hearted approval (happy I had learned from his preachings) — but being the gentleman he is (and far from pompous because of his manifold accomplishments), he was too much of a gentleman to mention that in his reply above. (I might add Bobby thought South bid his hand perfectly).

I am delighted to observe when the good guys (vs. the bad guys) and the good bidders (vs. the guessers, hopers and eternal optimists) come out on top for proper action (both in real life and at the table). When I asked Bobby what he estimated the chances of 6C making, he figured it out in his mind and replied, “about 12%”. But, it is irrefutable — “You can’t argue with success.”

If Norman were here, he would have another reply, “I’d like to play these guys for money on a slow boat to China.” Eventually, the laws of percentage catch up with you!

Dave ColbertMarch 17th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

The trouble with that pair making slam after that bidding is that they may be encouraged enough to bid that way even more! And I won’t be around to profit from it. I was east and this was one of the last hands of the match.

Ross TaylorApril 8th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

John Gowdy left this comment for me

“A diamond is 100% as we need to build a trick to go with partner’s entry. It was a heart so shoot me.”

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