JOHNNY FINDS THE
The other night the Northern Pro was giving his partner a right good bollocking for going down in 4H. On a club lead the careless South took a losing heart finesse. Then , on regaining the lead with a second club , he immediately cleared hearts by playing his Ace, only to take a losing diamond finesse. The obvious spade switch by East sealed his fate.
The Northern Pro of course told his hapless partner in no uncertain terms the error of his ways. " Clearly West , by his take out double , has most of the outstanding HCPs with at least 8 or 9 cards in the black suits.....and therefore short in both red suits. By playing off the Ace of Hearts at trick two, followed by the other top club and both top diamonds, everything is set up to make the contract. Simply throw West in with his king of hearts. Even if he holds the diamond queen there's no risk whatsoever of losing two spades. Either West gives up a spade to your king , or plays a club providing you with a ruff and spade discard from hand. "
At this point Johnny stepped in to correct the Northern Pro. " But what if East turns with the King of hearts. The defence now has a simple task of taking their two spade winners along with the established queen of diamonds ! The safer option is to play the Ace of hearts at trick 2 followed by the queen. It doesn't matter now who holds the king. If it is East , he'll certainly shift to a spade, and so any spade continuation allows you to pitch a losing diamond from hand. If West does turn up with the king he can not harm you with a diamond switch. By playing on spades yourself , the third spade can easily be set up in time for the diamond discard. Why take unnecessary risks ? "
The Northern Pro was not amused , but his partner couldn't help but smile .