That hand with 10 diamonds!

Vil's comments. How did you do, my partner and I were lucky enough to be play in and make 5 Diamonds x!

X-Files 57 -
”Look before you leap” is the most ignored advice at the bridge table. Too many declarers call for a
card immediately dummy is placed on the table, and pay the price, often without even realising why
they are paying the price. One look before leaping in would have saved declarer from disaster on this
deal. Unfortunately, most declarers were in FIVE HEARTS and not in SIX, and the lesson would
certainly have had much more impact if declarer had been in the slam, so let’s look at the deal and
imagine that East was in fact in 6H after some spirited bidding, South having bid 5D at some late stage
of the auction (though the play should be no different if South had been silent throughout!). So,
imagine East in 6H, South leading the king of diamonds.
Board 28 W NS Vul


Many Easts played this in 5H after an auction when South had bid to 5D. Some Souths were doubled in
5D and escaped for down one, understandably enough (only a club lead defeats 5D by two) but let’s
say an enterprising EW pair has bid to 6H. South leads the king of diamonds. Every East who played in
hearts made only eleven tricks. Would YOU take more care if you were in a slam?
It is totally impulsive when you see dummy to play the ace when the king is led, but...North ruffs and
declarer later loses the spade finesse, taking eleven tricks only. No big deal?
Now let’s say East is in 6H. Now only eleven tricks is a HUGE deal.
Declarer must
a) look before leaping
b) count the tricks
c) take every precaution to avoid a potential disaster, no matter how remote.
Declarer looks first and counts the tricks: seven hearts, three clubs, and ace of spades and ace of
diamonds. Easy, huh?
Is there ANYTHING that can go wrong? Yes, one of your certain tricks could disappear, and that trick
can ONLY be the ace of diamonds. Keep it on ice, don’t waste it by playing it at trick one. Yes, only
once in a million deals will South have ten diamonds and North will ruff dummy’s ace, but this one
happens to be that one time, and there is NO NEED to take that risk. It is good technique anyway to
save your certain trick for when it IS certain, so play low from dummy, and ruff in hand, then draw
trumps and claim your slam after conceding a trick to the ace of clubs.