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A PROBLEM IN RECONSTRUCTION
Charles Goren
December 16, 1957
West leads the 4 of hearts. East plays the ace and shifts to the king of clubs. West follows with the 4 and the dummy plays low. East continues with the queen, West plays the 9, and dummy the ace.
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December 16, 1957

A Problem In Reconstruction

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West leads the 4 of hearts. East plays the ace and shifts to the king of clubs. West follows with the 4 and the dummy plays low. East continues with the queen, West plays the 9, and dummy the ace.

At this point the reader should be able to 1) Determine West's exact distribution. 2) Identify every honor card in West's hand. 3) Figure out the line of play required to fulfill the contract.

Answers: 1. On the basis of the final double, declarer may conclude that West holds all five trumps inasmuch as it is clear from the bidding that he has much less than his share of the high cards. His lead (the lowest heart outstanding) marks him with three or four hearts. East's opening bid and subsequent double of two hearts indicate that he has a six-card suit. This is further substantiated by his play of the ace of hearts on the opening lead which denies a solid suit (with a holding headed by A-K-Q his correct play would be the queen). West can therefore be placed with three hearts.

The order in which West played the clubs (4-9) makes it apparent that he has a doubleton in that suit. Holding three to a jack, he would have signaled with the 9 originally. West's three remaining cards are diamonds.

2. West has the J, 10 of spades and the king of hearts. East's play of the ace on the opening lead denies the king. West cannot have the queen of hearts, for with the king-queen, he would have led the king.

3. With the knowledge of West's exact distribution, South can count nine sure tricks—three high spades, two heart ruffs in the closed hand, three diamonds and one club. He must be able to ruff one club in dummy to obtain the tenth trick. However his timing must be exact.

When he takes the ace of clubs, he ruffs a heart low, returns to dummy with a diamond and ruffs another heart. Next he cashes two more diamond tricks.

West at this point is down to his five trumps. A club lead forces him to ruff. Whatever trump West leads is taken in South's hand. Declarer leads another club and dummy over-ruffs West. High trumps remain to win the last two tricks.

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