Help From the Defense

♠ J 8 5
K 6 5 2
A 6 5
♣ K Q 5
♠ A K 6 3 2
A 8 3
Q 7 2
♣ 7 3
West North East South
1♠
2NT(1) 3 Pass 3♠
Pass 4♠ All

(1) 2NT= At least 5-5 in the minors

You are South playing in a pairs game. Partner’s 3 bid shows at least a limit raise in spades. You signed off but partner understandably went on to game. West starts with the 9. How do you plan to get to 10 tricks?

Solution

Declarer took the opening lead in hand with the ace to lead a club. West played low and dummy’s queen won the trick. After returning to hand with a low trump to the king, declarer led a second club. West rose with the ♣A and exited with a club to dummy’s king. Declarer threw a heart from hand and now had to decide how to continue.

If West had a second trump, it would be difficult to succeed unless the ♠Q was a doubleton. Instead, declarer went with the odds – there were there were more hearts outstanding than spades – and cashed the K. When West followed with the 4, he was marked with an original
1=2=5=5 shape. This meant East had started with 4=4=2=3 distribution. Declarer’s saw that his only hope was to make the jack of trumps by reducing his trump length to two, one fewer than the number East now held.

Declarer ruffed a heart low then crossed back to dummy with the A to ruff a second heart, reducing everyone to four cards. Declarer then exited with the Q. West won with the king and tried to cash a second diamond. Alas, for the defense, East had only ♠Q 10 9 remaining, and had to ruff the third round of diamonds and then lead a trump, ensuring that dummy’s ♠J trumps would make a trick. Declarer took three trumps, two hearts, two heart ruffs, a diamond and two clubs for a total of 10 tricks. The full deal:

♠ J 8 5
K 6 5 2
A 6 5
♣ K Q 5
♠ 4 ♠ Q 10 9 7
9 4 Q J 10 7
K J 10 8 3 9 4
♣ A J 10 9 4 ♣ 8 6 2
♠ A K 6 3 2
A 8 3
Q 7 2
♣ 7 3