Your Best Chance

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

Against your 4♠ contract, West leads the J. Plan the play.

Solution

Before playing to trick one, declarer paused to form a plan. He correctly assessed that the main danger to the contract was from East gaining the lead and switching to clubs. If South had a trump loser, he would have at best a guess in clubs to make the contract. He would also lose four tricks if West had the ♣A and the ♣Q.

The aim was to stop East from gaining the lead, so declarer played low from dummy at trick one and allowed the J to win the first trick. After winning the heart continuation with the ace, declarer was about to play the ♠A when he thought of an extra chance: A singleton ♠Q with West.

With that in mind, declarer led a low trump at trick three and was rewarded when the queen appeared. Putting his plan into action, declarer played low from dummy. West knew from the opening bid that declarer had to hold both the K and Q, so West exited with a diamond, which declarer won in hand. After drawing trumps with the ace and king, declarer claimed 10 tricks: four trumps, a heart and five diamonds. The full deal:

Dlr: East ♠ K 9 5 3
Vul: E-W Q 4
A J 10 6 5
♣ 6 5
♠ Q ♠ J 10 7
J 10 9 7 K 8 6 5 2
9 7 3 4 2
♣ A Q 8 3 2 ♣ 10 9 7
♠ A 8 6 4 2
A 3
K Q 8
♣ K J 4

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