The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 2, 2013

Bridge Column: The week ends with a tough ending

In today’s deal, the trump split is terrible and seems to end declarer’s chance of making six hearts. But he can survive. West leads the spade queen. South wins with his ace and cashes the heart ace to get the bad news. How must declarer continue?

It is rare that an auction starting one of a major -- two of a major ends in a slam. However, that South hand is very strong. When South rebid three clubs, North assumed this was a help-suit game-try and jumped to four hearts because he had a good club holding and a maximum -- aces are wonderful. South then carefully employed Blackwood before bidding the small slam.

It seems as though South must lose two trump tricks. But if South can reach an ending with the king-jack of hearts and a loser, while West still has his last three trumps, West can be trapped.

To achieve this ending, South must ruff three diamonds in his hand and find West with exactly 3-4-4-2 distribution.

At trick three, declarer plays a diamond to dummy’s ace. He continues with a diamond ruff in his hand, the club king, a club to dummy’s ace, another diamond ruff, the spade king, a spade ruff on the board, and, at trick 10, the third diamond ruff.

When that passes off quietly, South leads his last club. West must ruff and play away from his queen-10 of hearts into South’s king-jack.

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