Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

Can't see the forest

Some hands are annoyingly simple, once you have seen the solution. On this deal from the Funbridge Team Game, there are no endplays, no complex squeezes and not even any tricky suit combinations to be handled carefully. Yet, when I give this hand to my students, most of them go down, so perhaps it is more difficult than I first thought.

EW Vul, Dealer South, IMPs

A simple auction carries you to ♠4 and West leads the ♦9. How would you play?


This is a hand that requires you to do nothing more than count your tricks, and yet if the deal occurred in a large field I guarantee that the majority of players would go down. The main problem is that most of them would fail before even thinking about how to play the hand: they would see dummy and automatically cover the diamond lead with an honour. Unless you are playing against a rank beginner who would contribute the ♦K to this trick, you can now make only nine tricks.

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  1. If East is going to duck the ♦K untill the third round, when you play an honor from the dummy on the opening lead, why he would not do the same after you take the firs trick with the ♦A? He could as well wait until you play the diamonds for the third time. If you discard a club on ♦K, you will lose yet another club and two hearts apart from that trick, and if you ruff, you still have four losers to go. Am I missing something?

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