Wednesday, 14 July 2010

When others fail in their quest to see 3NT come home, who else but Johnny is the one to show these losers where they all went wrong. The bidding was fairly straightforward : 1H, 1S, 2D, 3NT by Johnny sitting South. A canny West elected to lead a spade, and dummy came down with KJx....K98xx.....KQ98....10x. Johhny's hand was AQxx....10x....J10x.....AQx.
Taking the triick in dummy with the King, he then played on diamonds in order to dislodge the Ace, which was unfortunately on his right. Eight tricks were always there with 4S, 3D and the Ace of clubs. Anyway, East was up to the task and switched to a club. Johnny ducked and West hopped up with the jack. Now the canny defender played the Queen of hearts........... DECISION TIME ? Unlike a whole bunch of other declarers who were involved in a similar sequence of play, Johnny refused to cover. If he had, dummy's king of hearts would have been taken by East's Ace, only for another club to come back through declarer's AQ. With the king of clubs off-side, the defence would triumph with 2C, 2H and 1D.
However, because the maestro had foreseen all this......the duck proved to be the winning play. West was fixed. If he continued with the jack of hearts, the king would fetch the Ace, but dummy's hearts would now be set up.....and a club switch would be of no consequence. Even if West plays a low heart, East would still be obliged to play the Ace.
Similarly a club continuation by West would still give declarer 9 tricks, without having to rely on one from hearts. By ducking Johnny had come up trumps and smelling of roses. What a man.....what a player.

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