Hand of the Week
West leads the ♥10. You win in hand with the king and lay down the ♠A. What seemed a straightforward contract suddenly becomes difficult when West discards the ♥4. What is the best approach to overcome this disturbing development?
As you are a trick short of your contract with seemingly an unavoidable losers in trumps and clubs, the only way home is to try to make East use a trump on your club loser, as in this layout:
After the first two tricks, you cash dummy’s ♦A, then the ♥A and ♣K. When you lead towards your ♣A East must discard, otherwise he is ruffing a loser with his trump trick and giving you an easy road to 12 tricks. After the ♣A wins, you ruff a diamond and lead a heart.
East does best to discard a diamond – if he ruffs, you throw your club loser. After ruffing the heart in hand and a diamond in dummy you reach this ending:
A heart from dummy fixes East. He must ruff because otherwise you have 12 tricks. You counter by discarding your losing club, thus making sure you take the last three tricks.
This plan succeeds when East holds at least six red-suit cards and four minor-suit cards. In addition, he must have at least two hearts, three diamonds and one club.