Both vulnerable. South deals.


xA K 4 2

uK 6 2

v8 4

wQ 10 9 6


xJ 10 9 8 x7 6

uQ 9 5 4 u10 8 7

vK 5 vJ 9 7 6 3

wA 8 3 wK 4 2


xQ 5 3

uA J 3

vA Q 10 2

wJ 7 5

The bidding:


1v Pass 1x Pass

1NT Pass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Jack of x

When you have to establish tricks, first tackle the suit where success is certain. Consider this deal.

The auction was routine. South described a minimum, balanced opening bid and North, with the same sort of holding, knew exactly where to place the contract.

Despite North’s original response, West correctly led the top of his spade sequence. Declarer could count six fast tricks. Which red-suit finesse should declarer attempt first?

The answer is neither! Even a successful finesse gains only one trick and you need three! Even though the club suit is your weakest of the three suits, two tricks can be established by knocking out the ace and king.

Declarer should win the opening lead in dummy and immediately lead a club to the jack. Assume West wins and perseveres with spades. Win in hand to preserve dummy entries and force out the remaining high club. Best defense is for East to win and shift to a heart, but this is not the time to falter. Play low from hand, win the king in dummy and cash the remaining black-suit winners. You can now assure the contract by exiting with a spade, pitching another diamond from hand. West must win and lead into one of your red-suit tenaces for the ninth trick.

2013 Tribune Media Services

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.