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Doubled Game Is Play Battlefield

  by Richard Pavlicek

Today’s deal created some action at a recent duplicate game. North responded two hearts to his partner’s opening bid and then, spirited by his club void, jumped to game in spades. East’s first double was for takeout; his second was optional, and West chose to pass because of his poor distribution. I consider this an excellent auction all around.

4 S× South
Both Vul
S Q 8 7
H K Q J 10 5
D 8 6 5 4 3

3 C

2 H
4 S

1 S
S J 9 4
H 7 6 2
D 10 9
C Q 9 7 4 3
TableS 3 2
H A 9 8
D K Q J 7
C A K 10 2

Lead: D 10
S A K 10 6 5
H 4 3
D A 2
C J 8 6 5


West led the diamond 10 to South’s ace, and a heart was led: deuce, king, eight. East knew to hold up his ace because West’s play showed an odd number of hearts — obviously three. The heart queen was continued to the ace, then East cashed a diamond. East continued a third round of diamonds, ruffed and overruffed by West; but that was the defenders’ last trick. After ruffing the club return, declarer was able to draw trumps ending in dummy and discard his remaining club losers on dummy’s hearts.

A stronger defense is for East to return a club after cashing his diamond trick. This shortens the dummy’s trumps and impedes declarer from enjoying the long hearts. The play becomes complicated at this juncture, but my analysis shows that declarer can succeed as follows: Cash a heart then continue with another heart. If East ruffs, overruff with the king, ruff a club, cash the spade queen and discard your last club on the heart as West ruffs with his natural trump trick. If East discards on the fourth round of hearts, throw a club, ruff the club return, cash the spade queen then ruff a red suit high to draw the remaining trumps.

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© 1988 Richard Pavlicek