Both vulnerable. South deals.


xA K 6 2

uK 2

v9 7 3

wA J 9 8


x10 7 4 xJ 9 5

uJ 10 8 4 u9 7 6 5 3

vK 6 vA 8 5

w10 7 4 2 wQ 6


xQ 8 3

uA Q

vQ J 10 4 2

wK 5 3

The bidding:


1v Pass 1xPass

1NT Pass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Jack of u

There is more than one way to tackle a suit. Sometimes it depends on how many tricks in the suit you have to take.

The auction was routine. Once South showed a balanced minimum and no four-card spade fit, North was interested in no contract other than three no trump.

Duplication of values in hearts turned what might have been a simple hand into a headache. West led the jack of hearts and declarer did not have time to establish diamonds, so needed seven tricks from the black suits to get home. Which suit should he tackle first, and why?

Declarer must go after spades first. How you play the club suit depends on how many tricks from it you need! But first, declarer should win the opening lead in hand with the ace in case he needs a dummy entry later. As the cards lie, spades are 3-3, so declarer now has six tricks — four spades and two hearts. How should he play the clubs for three more?

The percentage play is to lead a club to the ace and return to hand with king. If neither the queen nor the ten appears, declarer continues with a club up to dummy and covers any card West produces. That loses only to Q 10 x x (x) in the East hand.

Suppose there were only three tricks available in spades. Declarer now needs four tricks from clubs, so the right way to play the suit is to cash the king, lead low toward dummy and finesse the knave, hoping West holds Q x x.

2012 Tribune Media Services

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