A Flush of Ducks

In the last round of the Open Swiss Pairs the bidding and play at tables 1 and 2 were, to all intents and purposes, identical.
After two passes, South (playing a 13-15 1NT Vulnerable against Not) re-valued the hand in light of the 9s and 10s, and opened 1NT. North raised to 3NT:
S Q 7
H J 10 8
D A 8 6 3 2
C A 10 7
S K 10 9
H A Q 5
D Q J 10
C 9 8 4 3

On the lead of the King of Clubs, Declarer needs one of the red Kings to sit conveniently – so wins the Ace of Clubs, finesses the Queen of Hearts which loses to the King. But, when the King of Diamonds is with West, although the Diamond suit is blocked, the Jack of Hearts is an entry to the long Diamonds.
9 tricks made.

With the blockage in Diamonds, and Dummy’s only obvious outside entry removed at trick 1, West could have thwarted this line of play by ducking the Queen of Hearts.
You can pick up the reigns, with all the information made available in the form of a “double dummy” problem – with a difference.

Assuming you finesse the Queen of Hearts, West will pause long enough for you to realise he has the King. You can now deduce that he also has the King of Diamonds (otherwise he just takes the King of Hearts for one down, and I wouldn’t be writing the article) and, together with the KQJ of Clubs, can’t have the Ace of Spades as well, or he would have doubled your opening 1NT.

Your partner is a hard task master, and will not be pleased if you simply rely on guessing the location of the Jack of Spades.
So the “full” hand is set out below; but the location of the Jack of Spades is flexible – it is wherever Declarer does not want it to be.

Board 21 North-South Vul - Dealer North

Q 7
J 10 8
A 8 6 3 2
A 10 7
? 6 2A ? 5 4 3
K 6 39 7 4 2
K 9 47 5
K Q J 56 2
K 10 9
A Q 5
Q J 10
9 8 4 3

Do you fancy your chances as Declarer against best Defence – or as Defenders, against best Declarer play ?

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David Norman 2/11/2015