# Assessing the Situation

Dlr:
North
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ A K Q J
J 10
Q J 9 7 6
♣ 7 6
South
♠ 7 6 3
A 9 8
10 4 2
♣ A Q J 10
 West North East South 1♦ 1♥ 2NT Pass 3NT All Pass

### Solution

After identical auctions in a team game, both West players led the 2. Both declarers played the 10 and took East’s queen with the ace. Both declarers crossed to dummy with a spade and led a club to the queen, which held at both tables. At the first table, declarer crossed back to dummy with a spade and led a club to the jack. When West produced the ♣K and exited with the 5 to dummy’s jack, East thoughtfully played low and the contract could no longer be made. Declarer had to lose three hearts and two diamonds in addition to the trick in clubs. At the second table, declarer paused to consider the matter. Whenever East had started with the ♣K, all would be well when declarer crossed back to dummy with a spade to repeat the club finesse. However, this declarer was aware that West was capable of withholding the ♣K on the first round of the suit. Declarer therefore considered how to cater to that possibility. After a little more thought, he found the answer: he continued with the ♣A and ♣J to West’s king and threw the blocking J from dummy.

The defenders had no answer to this move. If they played on hearts, declarer would reach his hand in hearts to cash a good club: he would make four spades, two hearts and three clubs to bring his contract home. Suspecting this, West exited with a spade to dummy’s queen. Declarer
then played on diamonds and had time to set up two winners in the suit for his eighth and ninth tricks. The full deal:

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