You are playing in a team game and find yourself in a vulnerable game. West starts with the ♥J. It looks like 2-2 trumps will make your job easy. Do you have a plan to cope with a less convenient trump split?
At both tables, the auction was as shown above and the opening lead was the ♥J at each table. It was obvious to both declarers that, if trumps were 2-2, then 10 tricks would be easy and, if they were 4-0, the contract would fail. Both declarers won the opening lead with the ♥A and, to try to improve their chances against a 3-1 trump break, each crossed to hand with a trump to lead a low diamond towards the queen.
Both West players rose with the ♦K and then placed the queen of trumps on the table. The less-experienced declarer took this in hand with the ♠K and led a low diamond to dummy’s queen. He continued with the ♣A and another club. East won the trick with the jack and exited with a low heart, West’s 10 forcing dummy’s king. When declarer tried to return to hand with a club ruff, West overruffed and led the ♥5 to East’s queen for the setting trick.
At the other table, when East discarded a club on the queen of trumps, declarer saw the danger of taking the ♠K. It would have left him with no fast entry back to hand after cashing dummy’s ♦Q. So, he allowed the ♠Q to hold the trick. If West had continued with the ♠J, declarer could have won, unblocked the ♦Q and eventually got back to hand with a club ruff to discard a heart on the ♦A. A heart ruff in dummy would have been the 10th trick.
In practice, West shifted back to hearts, leading the 10. Declarer won with dummy’s king, cashed the ♦Q, then came to hand with a trump to the king. All that remained was to discard a heart on the ♦A and ruff a heart. Declarer had ten tricks: four trumps, two hearts, a heart ruff, two diamonds and the ♣A. The full deal: