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Another Three-way Example

A Q 10 7
Q 7
A Q J 9 7 3
J 4 3
J 9 8 5
8 5 4 3 2
A Q 6 5 2
K J 10
K 8 5 4
K 10 8 7
K 6 3 2
A 9 6
10 6
Another deal with three potential strains. Game can be made in notrump, hearts, or clubs from one side or the other.


If North is declarer in 3 NT, East can set it with a spade lead.
Declarer cannot play the K, because he will eventually have to take the club finesses, and will then lose four spades and a club. So declarer must duck, West winning the J.
Having grabbed a spade trick, West can shift to a diamond, and East/West eventually get two spades, two diamonds, and a club.
Declared by South, though, 3 NT makes. There is no way to put West in to lead diamonds.


If South declares 4 , he will have trouble after a diamond lead. We know, for instance, that if South draws trumps, he can come up with at most nine tricks, since it reverts to the notrump situation discussed above - East gets two diamonds, a spade, and a club.
So South has to score an extra trump trick. Ruffing clubs in hand is fruitless - he would be ruffing winners. So South wins the first diamond, leads a heart to the ten and leads a spade. East flies the ace and continues with two diamonds, forcing the ruff to occur in the diamond suit. The situation is:
A Q J 9 7 3
J 4
J 9 8
8 5
Q 6 5 2
K 8 5 4
K 10 8
K 6 3
10 6
Stuck in dummy, South cannot get back to his hand to finish off the trumps.
The diamond lead kills the entry to the South hand.
If North is declaring 4 , however, East cannot take more than three tricks. If he leads the diamond king to kill the entry to trumps, he has just given up a trick, and declarer can simply allow West to win a trump. All other leads sacrifice either tricks or tempo.


The 5 contracts are the easiest to follow.
With West on lead against a club game, a diamond lead immediately sets up a third defensive trick.
Any lead from East gives North time to set up a spade to pitch his diamond loser.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 2000-2009.
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