Bridge column, August 23: Isolate declarer in one hand
When declarer is in a contract with poor communications, the defenders should work to isolate him in one hand or the other.
In today's deal, South was in three no-trump. What happened after West led his singleton spade?
East opened with a weak two-bid. South made the normal three-heart overcall. Then North wondered about a slam in clubs, but knew that misfits are dangerous. So he cue-bid three spades, asking his partner to bid three no-trump with a spade stopper.
South had seven top tricks: one spade, two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. After winning with his spade ace over East's queen, declarer should have tried to establish dummy's clubs, playing three rounds of the suit. Here, he would have cruised home with at least one overtrick.
However, the original South crossed to dummy's diamond ace and played a heart to his jack. West won with his queen and returned a diamond. South understandably finessed dummy's jack. But now East did very well, winning with his queen, cashing the spade king to cut declarer's communication with his hand, and shifting to a low club. Declarer won with dummy's king, cashed the diamond king (more bad news) and club ace, then played another club. But East won and put South into his hand to lose one more heart trick to West's 10.
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