Dlr:
South
Vul
E-W
North
♠ K J 10
J 6 3
K J
♣ 9 8 7 6 2
South
♠ A Q 9 3
5
A Q 8 5 2
♣ A 4 3
 West North East South 1♦ 1♥ Dbl Pass 4♠ All Pass

North’s double promised four spades, but he felt obliged to do something and considered that his three-card suit had the same playing strength as some four-card suits. Against your spade game, West leads the A. Now what?

## Solution

On eyeing dummy, declarer could count 10 easy tricks if spades were no worse than 4-2 and diamonds 4-2. That suggested playing for control, so declarer discarded a low club from hand on the continuation of the K. West continued with the Q and declarer kept to his plan and discarded a second low club from hand. Suspecting that his partner had six trumps, West continued with a fourth round of hearts. Declarer ruffed this in dummy with the ♠10 and then cashed the ♠K. The awful break was revealed and declarer finished two down, complaining all the way about his bad luck.

“Despite the fact that the play you faced looked like it was about retaining control, you should have ruffed the second heart rather than discard a club,” said an unsympathetic dummy. “At trick three, play a diamond to the king then the J back to the ace. After ruffing a diamond, come back to hand with the ♣A ruff a second diamond, then ruff dummy’s remaining heart and ruff your last diamond, which would be your eighth trick. The ♠A and ♠Q would be your ninth and tenth tricks. This approach will succeed unless one of your minor-suit winners is ruffed and is independent of how the trumps break.”

The full deal:

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

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