Contingency Planning

Dlr: South ♠ 8 6 2
Vul: All 9 2
A Q J 5
♣ 8 7 4 2
♠ 9 3
A K Q 10 5
K 8 4
♣ A K 5
West North East South
1
1♠ Dbl Pass 2♠
Pass 3 Pass 4
All Pass

This somewhat awkward auction has left you in game on a 5-2 fit. West starts with the top three spades. How will you get to 10 tricks?

Solution

After the first three tricks, declarer counted 10 tricks: four in trumps, four in diamonds and two in clubs. He saw that the main danger was West’s having two diamonds and four hearts to the jack. If that were the case, and declarer played three top trumps, West would ruff the third diamond and the contract would go down, declarer being left with a club loser and no way to get rid of it.

Declarer’s initial idea for catering to that possibility was to lead the 10 after ruffing the third spade. After a moment’s further thought, he decided to keep the prospect of an overtrick alive by crossing to the dummy with a diamond to the jack and then leading the 2 to his 10. If the 10 had held, he would make an overtrick as long as the trumps were divided no worse than 4-2. On this layout, however, West took the 10 with the jack and played a hopeful fourth round of spades. Declarer ruffed in dummy with the 9 and discarded the ♣5 from hand. After crossing back to hand with a club to his ace, declarer drew the outstanding trumps and claimed 10 tricks. The full deal:

Dlr: South ♠ 8 6 2
Vul: All 9 2
A Q J 5
♣ 8 7 4 2
♠ A K Q 10 7 ♠ J 5 4
J 7 6 3 8 4
10 2 9 7 6 3
♣ Q 10 ♣ J 9 6 3
♠ 9 3
A K Q 10 5
K 8 4
♣ A K 5
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