### Hand of the Week

Dlr:
West
VUL:
None
North
♠ A J 8 3
8 6
A Q 6
♣ J 8 7 2

South
♠ Q 5 4
A 5 2
K J 10 7
♣ A 4 3
 West North East South 1♥ Pass Pass 1NT(1) Pass 2♣ Pass 3♦ Pass 2NT Pass 3NT All Pass

(1) 11-15.

Given that hearts are 5-3, how will you make nine tricks after West leads the K?

### Solution

As only 14 high-card points are missing, West is certain to hold the ♠K. Thus, a finesse of dummy’s spade jack will give you eight tricks.

Dlr:
West
VUL:
None
North
♠ A J 8 3
8 6
A Q 6
♣ J 8 7 2
West
♠ K 10 6
K Q J 9 3
9 2
♣ K 6 5
East
♠ 9 7 2
10 7 4
18 5 4 3
♣ Q 10 9
South
♠ Q 5 4
A 5 2
K J 10 7
♣ A 4 3

So, assuming West holds the ♠K, the problem reduces to looking for a ninth. One chance is that West holds a singleton or doubleton ♠K. In both cases you will make nine tricks as long as you do not have your ♠Q covered by the king.

So what can you do on the layout shown? Well, after holding up the heart ace until the third round and discarding a club from dummy, you make the avoidance play of leading a low spade from hand and covering West’s card. When West follows with the ♠6, East takes the ♠8 with the 9. East has no heart to return, so he will surely exit with a low club.

After you rise with the ♣A, you will play a second low spade. If West had started with a doubleton king of spades, it would appear and you would have the three spade tricks that you need, despite your early finesse of the ♠8.

The benefit of the deft play of the ♠8 on the first round of the suit comes about when West began with a tripleton ♠K. Here, after you successfully finesse dummy’s ♠J, the ♠K will fall under the ace and dummy’s ♠3 will be your ninth trick.

This approach gives roughly a 60% chance of making 3NT. No other plan approaches those odds.

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