Good Timing

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: South ♠ A K 9 8 5 2
Vul: None Q 8 5
J 9
♣ J2
♠ J ♠ Q 10 7 4
10 9 2   3
Q 8 6 5   K 10 7 3
♣ K Q 8 4 3 ♣ A 10 7 6
♠ 6 3
A K J 7 6 4
A 4 2
♣ 9 5
West North East South
Pass 1♠ Pass 2
Pass 4  All Pass

Opening lead: 9

This contract would have been an easy one had the outstanding spades split 3-2, but the opening spade lead looked ominously like a singleton. Declarer was able to overcome the adversity with elegant timing.

South won the opening lead in dummy, crossed to his hand with a heart to the ace, and led his remaining spade. It would not profit West to ruff. Indeed, it would have made the hand simple for declarer, so he discarded a club instead. South won the trick in dummy and led another spade, simply ruffing it with a low heart. West had no effective way to proceed. He chose to overruff and lead the ♣K and another club to East’s ace. East shifted to a diamond, but South rose with his ace and led a heart to dummy’s queen, drawing the last missing trump. A spade was ruffed high and dummy was re-entered with the 8. Declarer’s two remaining diamonds were discarded on the established spades. Making four!

Had West refused to over-ruff the third spade, South would have ducked a diamond, eventually ruffing a diamond in dummy for his 10th trick. Note the importance of the timing. Had South ducked a diamond before ruffing a spade, the defense could have cashed two club tricks, ending in the East hand. A spade from East would have to be ruffed high, and a diamond ruff in dummy would have left South with no way back to his hand without promoting a trump trick for West.