Good Thinking

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: South ♠ A J 5 2
Vul: Both 9 7 2
J 3
♣ Q 10 7 2
♠ 10 6 4 3 ♠ 9 8
K 10 4 J
10 6 K 9 8 7 5 4 2
♣ K J 9 3 ♣ A 6 4
♠ K Q 7
A Q 8 6 5 3
♣ 8 5
South West North East
1 Pass 2 3♦*
4 All Pass

Opening lead: 10
Would you have bid 3 with the East hand? Many would make that bid, hoping to find a fit. When you end up defending, however, the overcall stands as a lead director. Absent the overcall, an aggressive West might have found the club lead to defeat this contract. West cannot be faulted for leading a diamond after the overcall.
South in today’s deal was expert Barnet Shenkin. Shenkin is from Scotland, but he relocated to South Florida many years ago. Shenkin played low from dummy at trick one as East unwisely played the 9. The lead now looked like a doubleton and allowed Shenkin to place East with a seven-card diamond suit. Looking at two club losers, the contract seemed to rely on holding the trumps to one loser.
Shenkin won the diamond opening lead with his queen and cashed the A, noting the fall of the jack from East. Should the trumps be splitting 2-2, another round of hearts would bring home the contract. Playing East for a seven-card diamond suit, however, Shenkin expected East’s J to be a singleton. He turned his attention to spades and cashed the king and queen. He led a spade to dummy’s ace, and when East discarded, he continued with the ♠J to discard a club from his hand. One club loser and two heart losers left declarer with 10 tricks and his contract. Well played!