NOT SO EASY WITH BOB JONES ©2018 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
The Russian North-South pair in today’s deal were using a bidding gadget rarely seen in the USA, though it is popular in other parts of the world. The gadget propelled them into a poor game contract that appeared to have four certain losers, one in every suit. The defense, however, had a difficult time taking their four tricks.
Not sure of the club position, West continued with the “safe” king of clubs at trick two. That proved to be fatal for the defense. South ruffed in his hand and led a low heart to dummy’s jack. East won with his ace and returned his remaining heart. This drew the last outstanding trump as declarer won with the king. A diamond to the ace and another diamond put East back on lead. A club from East would yield a ruffsluff, so East led a low spade. Declarer guessed this correctly by playing low from his hand and that was the end of the defense’s potential spade trick.
The defense would have had a better chance if West had shifted to a diamond at trick two. Declarer’s best play is to rise with dummy’s ace of diamonds and lead the jack of hearts, trying to look like a man who is taking a finesse. The defense will prevail if East rises with the ace of hearts and cashes the king of diamonds. Should East duck his ace of hearts, South can ruff a club and exit with a low heart to East’s ace, forcing East to give the contract regardless of what he chooses to play next.
(Bob Jones welcomes readers’ responses sent in care of this paper or e-mail at email@example.com)