Right perspective

Hand of the Week

Dlr:
North
VUL:
None
North
♠ A 10 4
10 8 5
A 7 5
♣ A 8 7 6

South
♠ K Q J 9 3
A K
8 6 4 3
♣ 9 4

West North East South
1♠
Pass 3♠ Pass 4♠
All Pass

West leads the ♠2 against your spade game. How do you plan to make 10 tricks?

Solution

You have four potential losers in your hand – three diamonds and a club. West’s trump lead is the only one that gives you a problem. On any other lead, you would win the ♠9 and play the A and another diamond. On winning the trump return you would play a third diamond. If the suit broke 3-3, your problems would be over. If not, you would ruff your fourth diamond in dummy. However, suppose the full deal is:

Dlr:
North
VUL:
None
North
♠ A 10 4
10 8 5
A 7 5
♣ A 8 7 6
West
♠ 8 7 5 2
J 9 6
Q 9
♣ K J 10 2
East
♠ 6
Q 7 4 3 2
K J 10 2
♣ Q 5 3
South
♠ K Q J 9 3
A K
8 6 4 3
♣ 9 4

You could still try to ruff the fourth diamond in dummy whenever the suit does not split 3-3. You win the spade lead with the nine and continue with ace and another diamond. West wins with the queen and plays a second round of trumps. When you concede a third round of diamonds, East can win with the 10 but will then have no trump to play. Does this mean that you will be able to ruff the fourth diamond after all? No! West will ruff the third round of diamonds and defeat four spades by playing his last trump.

Is there another plan? Yes indeed there is! Instead of trying to ruff one diamond in dummy, you should aim to ruff three of dummy’s losers in your own hand. Your first move must be to cash the ace-king of hearts, cross to the ace of clubs and ruff dummy’s remaining heart. Next you give up a club trick and win the trump return in dummy and ruff a club in hand. After crossing back to dummy with the ace of diamonds, you ruff dummy’s last club. You will now have nine tricks, and dummy’s ace of trumps is your 10th trick. You will make four side-suit winners, three trump tricks (the 9, ace and 10) and three high ruffs in the South hand.

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