Youve heard the story of the lost motorist who pulls into a gas station and asks the attendant how to get to Route 35. The thoughtful reply: Hmm
You cant get there from here. This deal has a similar theme.
West led the J, taken by the queen. Declarer had seven top tricks and, unless hearts were 3-3, he needed two diamonds. The J was led and of course it held; then another diamond went to the queen, ace. The K now was like a star in the midnight sky a beautiful sight but no way to reach it. Dummy was dead.
Was declarer a victim of fate? Or could he have done something? The problem should have been anticipated from the start. Declarer cannot get to dummy by himself (the gas-station attendant was right), but he might force an opponent to put him there. Before leading diamonds he must do some elimination work.
After winning the first heart, duck a club. Assume the opponents return a heart; win and duck a spade. Win any return and lead the J which holds. Next cash all your remaining winners before leading a diamond to the queen and ace. East can cash his long spade, but he must give dummy the K.
But wait! Perfect defense can prevail. When declarer ducks a club, the defenders must duck a diamond; then when a spade is given up, East can cash the A to avert the endplay. This is difficult defense but not unrealistic in view of dummy.
© 1997 Richard Pavlicek