Help From the Opponents

Dlr: East ♠ 10 7 6 3
Vul: None K 2
K Q 6 5
♣ J 10 2
♠ A 8 2
A 6 3
A J 9 2
♣ A 6 5
West North East South
3♣ 3NT
All Pass

Preemptive bidding by the opponents can be annoying, but it can also lead to a successful solution for you in the play. Against your 3NT, West leads the Q. How will you get to nine tricks on this deal?

Solution

Declarer counted only eight winners and put into action a plan to make a game-going second trick in clubs. Declarer’s idea was to strip East of his non-clubs and then endplay him in his long suit. Assuming that East held all seven of the missing clubs, this would always work if East had at most two spades, at most three hearts and thus at least one diamond.

After allowing the Q to hold, declarer took the heart continuation with dummy’s king and put the next part of his plan into action by ducking a spade. West overtook East’s ♠Q with his king and continued hearts with the jack. After winning with the A, declarer cashed the three high diamonds and the ♠A. Declarer was now in safe territory as East was marked with an original distribution of 1=2=3=7 and had only clubs remaining. So declarer played a diamond to the king to lead dummy’s ♣J. East covered this with the queen and declarer followed with the 5. East had to lead a club and that ensured that dummy’s ♣10 would be declarer’s extra trick. Declarer made a spade, two hearts, four diamonds and two clubs for a total of nine tricks. The full deal:

Dlr: East ♠ 10 7 6 3
Vul: None K 2
K Q 6 5
♣ J 10 2
♠ K J 9 5 4 ♠ Q
Q J 10 8 7 5 9 4
10 7 8 4 3
♣ — ♣ K Q 9 8 7 4 3
♠ A 8 2
A 6 3
A J 9 2
♣ A 6 5
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