East-West vulnerable, South deals.


x9 6 4 2

uK 9

vA 7 6 4

wK 9 4


xQ 10 7 3 xJ 8

uJ 8 uQ 7 6 3

vQ 10 8 3 vJ 9

wA 10 3 wJ 8 6 5 2


xA K 5

uA 10 5 4 2

vK 5 2

wQ 7

The bidding:


1NT Pass 2w Pass

2u Pass 3NT All pass

Opening lead: Three of v

West might have led a spade, but the auction suggested that dummy would have four spades, so West chose a low diamond instead. This went to East’s jack and South’s king.

The best chance for this contract was to get four tricks from the heart suit. What was the best way to do it? Anything would work if the hearts split 3-3, but the percentage split with six missing is 4-2. Should declarer cash the king of hearts and then run the nine, he would lose to a doubleton honor, or four to the queen-jack, with West. There was nothing to do if East had a doubleton honor or four to the queen-jack. Accordingly, South made the percentage play of leading a low heart to the nine, a very useful card in the dummy.

East won with his queen and reverted to diamonds, West overtaking the nine with the 10, as dummy won with the ace. When the king of hearts dropped the jack, South was home free. He led a club to his queen, losing to the ace. West could cash two diamond tricks, but South had the rest -- two spades, four hearts, two diamonds, and a club.

The percentage play, when you can identify it, might lose on any given day, but it will bring you the most tricks in the long run.

2016 Tribune Content Agency

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