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Safer Than Sorry

East Deals
N-S Vul
IMPs
From: OKbridge
K 4
Q 10 6 4
A Q 8 7 4
4 3
 
A Q 9 8
A 5
J 10 9 2
K 8 7
South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
1 2 3 Pass
3 NT All Pass

West led the Q, and East played the J, declarer ducking.
West then shifted to the J. This was covered in dummy by the Q, East played the K and declarer won the A.
Declarer (geno on OKbridge) now appeared to have nine tricks; three spades, four or five diamonds, and two hearts. But if East got in before the tricks could be run, he would be able to lead a club through declarer's king.
Declarer therefore took a basic safety play, playing a diamond to the ace. He was rewarded when East dropped the K. Had declarer taken the finesse, he would have been down 3, and if West had the king, when he won it, he couldn't safely attack clubs.
The full deal was:
K 4
Q 10 6 4
A Q 8 7 4
4 3
10 7 2
J
6 5 3
A Q 10 9 6 2
 
J 6 5 3
K 9 8 7 3 2
K
J 5
A Q 9 8
A 5
J 10 9 2
K 8 7
West might set this contract by initially leading a low club to East's jack. Declarer would have to win. Then it is no longer "safe" for declarer to take the A first. Still, would West have passed South's 1 opening bid with a good club suit and the K at favorable vulnerability? An argument can be made to play for the drop still, depending on West's overcalling style.
<< Taking Care
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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