West leads the ♠4. Plan the play.
Are you familiar with the expression “being in deep doo-doo”? In any case, it is an apt way of describing what you are in here.
Your first move should be to win the ♠A. Aside from not subjecting yourself to a possible spade ruff, the bigger problem is that East may win and the defense will cash two club tricks forcing you to find both red queens to make your contract.
A better play is to rise with the ♠A and play two top hearts. If the queen drops, draw the last trump, give up your black suit losers and eventually play on diamonds after (hopefully) getting a count on the hand. If your count tells you that East started with the greater diamond length, cash the ♦A and run the ♦J through East. If you think West has the diamond length, or can’t tell for sure, take the diamond finesse through West.
If the ♥Q doesn’t drop, you are reduced to hoping that not only does the diamond finesse work, but that the player with the ♥Q also has three diamonds allowing you to discard a club before that player can ruff in.
Cash the ♦K and lead low to the jack. If the ♦Q falls under the king, lead low to the 9 paying off to East having the Q–10 doubleton. Not many East’s would play the queen from the Q–10 doubleton. Wait a minute! Is Zia in the house?
(1) 15–17 HCP.
West leads the ♦7. East wins the ace and returns the ♦3 to your king and West’s 10. Plan the play.
Ostensibly you have four losers as hearts must be 3–2, East surely having A–x. The problem is to avoid a trump promotion on a fourth diamond: West, with Q–x–x in trumps, will not overruff when you ruff high.
The answer is to lead a heart to the king and ace, ruff the diamond return, cross to the ♣A and lead the fourth diamond yourself discarding a spade. There goes the trump promotion
and you make your doubled contract for what should no worse than a tie for top.
Thanks to Barry Rigal, New York City, for this one.