The opening heart lead went to the jack and ace. Declarer ducked the heart continuation and then won the third round of the suit. At the other table, the declarer at this point tried a low diamond, losing to West’s king. West cashed a heart and exited with a club. When the diamonds split poorly, declarer had to concede a trick to the king of spades for down one.
When Nehmert played the hand, she started diamonds by playing the ace at trick four. There is little to choose between leading the ace or leading low, but when Nehmert’s play dropped the king, she knew that the diamonds were misbehaving and the timing was completely different. Nehmert cashed four club tricks and the queen of diamonds before leading a spade to the queen. West won with his king and cashed the good heart, but he then had to lead a spade into declarer’s ace- 10. Making three!
It might seem that a better defense would be for East to shift to a spade at trick two. Declarer can still prevail, regardless of which spade she plays from her hand at trick two, as long as she doesn’t duck another heart. A similar end-play will develop.
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