Both vulnerable. South deals.


xA Q

uA K 7 4

v10 2

wA K 7 5 2


xJ 8 7 3 xK 6 5 4

uJ 9 5 2 u8 6

vK 8 6 3 vJ 9 7 4

w10 wJ 6 3


x10 9 2

uQ 10 3

vA Q 5

wQ 9 8 4

The bidding:


Pass Pass 1w Pass

1NT Pass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Three of x

Every card has a tale to tell. Cover up the East and West hands and see if you can maximize the outcome on this deal from a club duplicate event.

The contract is secure but overtricks are crucial. The auction is straightforward, and West leads a low spade. You try the queen from dummy but it loses to the king, and the four of spades is returned to dummy’s ace. Obviously, you are going to start on clubs. Does it make any difference how you tackle the suit?

Very much so! If clubs are 4-0, you can bring in the suit without conceding a trick only if West has all the missing clubs, so you must begin by leading a club to the queen. Both defenders follow, and you continue with the nine of clubs to the king, on which West discards a diamond. On the final round of clubs, you pitch a diamond from hand as West agonizingly lets go of two more diamonds and a spade. What do you know about the hand?

West, who had a singleton club, elected to lead a spade from four to the jack. This is an unlikely lead if West holds a longer suit, so that defender’s distribution must be 4-4-4-1. Obviously, West has been reduced to the jack of spades, one diamond and four hearts.

West’s remaining diamond is irrelevant, since 11 tricks are now assured. After leading a diamond to the ace, you can exit with a spade to force a heart return, securing four tricks in the suit. But when the ace fetches the diamond king, you cash the queen and all West can do is discard the jack of spades in the hope that partner has the ten. Now you have 12 tricks. Well done.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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