# Careful Play Wins

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

You are playing in a team game and find yourself in a vulnerable game. West starts with the J. It looks like 2-2 trumps will make your job easy. Do you have a plan to cope with a less convenient trump split?

## Solution

At both tables, the auction was as shown above and the opening lead was the J at each table. It was obvious to both declarers that, if trumps were 2-2, then 10 tricks would be easy and, if they were 4-0, the contract would fail. Both declarers won the opening lead with the A and, to try to improve their chances against a 3-1 trump break, each crossed to hand with a trump to lead a low diamond towards the queen.

Both West players rose with the K and then placed the queen of trumps on the table. The less-experienced declarer took this in hand with the ♠K and led a low diamond to dummy’s queen. He continued with the ♣A and another club. East won the trick with the jack and exited with a low heart, West’s 10 forcing dummy’s king. When declarer tried to return to hand with a club ruff, West overruffed and led the 5 to East’s queen for the setting trick.

At the other table, when East discarded a club on the queen of trumps, declarer saw the danger of taking the ♠K. It would have left him with no fast entry back to hand after cashing dummy’s Q. So, he allowed the ♠Q to hold the trick. If West had continued with the ♠J, declarer could have won, unblocked the Q and eventually got back to hand with a club ruff to discard a heart on the A. A heart ruff in dummy would have been the 10th trick.

In practice, West shifted back to hearts, leading the 10. Declarer won with dummy’s king, cashed the Q, then came to hand with a trump to the king. All that remained was to discard a heart on the A and ruff a heart. Declarer had ten tricks: four trumps, two hearts, a heart ruff, two diamonds and the ♣A. The full deal:

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