Hand of the Week
West leads the ♠J. How do you plan to take at least nine tricks?
You have seven top winners and need only two more tricks for your contract. So, you should begin by winning the first trick in hand and playing the ♦A. If both opponents follow, continue with the ♦K. When diamonds are 3-2, a third diamond sets up two more diamond tricks, all you need for your contract, and you will have time to play on clubs for an overtrick.
When diamonds are not 3-2, you will need to manage clubs for two tricks:
You may be surprised to be told that the best play now is a low club towards the 10. If West has the ♣J and plays it you are assured of two club tricks because the ♣10 will force out the ace on the next round of the suit, establishing your king and queen as winners. If West does not rise with the ♣J when he holds it, then the ♣ 10 will win or it will force out the ace. Either way, you will make two club tricks.
The only remaining case to consider is when the ♣10 loses to East’s jack. When that happens, you should use dummy’s ♠A as an entry to finesse the ♣8. On the above layout that finesse succeeds and you will have your desired nine tricks.
Managing the club suit in this way succeeds about three times in four – when West has the ♣J or when East has either the 9 or the doubleton ♣A J.