Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/2/2013 (1470 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
YOU are East, defending South's contract of four spades reached after your partner overcalled South's opening bid of one heart with one spade and you subsequently raised partner's spades.
West leads the jack of diamonds and this dummy appears:
' 7 4
'* Q 10 8 3
'¶ K Q 6 3
'£ J 7 4
' Q 6 2
'* 7 5
'¶ A 9 7 4 2
'£ 8 6 5
On the lead of the jack of diamonds, the three is played from dummy. How do you defend?
When the deal arose in a team-of-four competition, at one table, East encouraged with the 7 of diamonds. West captured trick one and continued with the 10 of diamonds, covered by the queen and ace and ruffed by declarer, whose hand, unsurprisingly, turned out to be:
' K 8 3
'* A J 9 4 2
'£ A K Q 3
Declarer next crossed to dummy with the jack of clubs in order to try the heart finesse. West won, but, of course, could not effectively attack spades. Declarer won the diamond return, drew trumps, discarded one of dummy's spade losers on the fourth round of clubs and made the contract of four hearts, losing one trick each in spades, hearts, and diamonds.
The opportunity to shine for East came at trick one. The defender rightly ought to have been suspicious of the unnatural play of a low diamond from dummy. Why should declarer fail to have dummy cover West's jack of diamonds? The only possible answer was that he feared allowing East to gain the lead.
Had East drawn the proper inference, he plainly would have foreseen the risk and played the ace of diamonds at trick one, then shifted to a spade through declarer's king, assuring defeat of the contract. The defence thereby comes to two tricks in spades plus another two in the red suits.
That is precisely what occurred at the other table when declarer failed to make the prescient play of declining to cover the opening lead of the jack of diamonds with one of dummy's honours, so that East captured the queen of diamonds with the ace and made the obvious shift to spades.