Test Your Play (IMP’s)
Auction – S opens 2NT and arrives at 3NT, no adverse bidding.
Opening lead – 3 of spades (fourth best); east plays the J. How should you proceed?
Solution – win the spade and lead a spade! You have eight sure tricks and can get to nine if the club finesse wins or the Q of hearts is doubleton. In order to try both you must cash the AK of hearts before cashing your diamonds. If West started with AK103 of spades, the K of clubs and three or more hearts you will go down if the Q of hearts doesn’t drop (losing three spades, a heart and a club) whereas you would have made had you not cashed the AK of hearts (losing only three spades and a club). On the other hand, if west started with AK1032 of spades and the K of clubs you will go down if you don’t cash the AK of hearts even if the Q is doubleton. So, in order to decide which line to take you lead a spade at trick two. If west switches suits after winning the 10 then win his return and, if he hasn’t handed you your ninth trick, lead another spade. This will tell you how many spades west started with. If he had four, you have nine tricks even if the club finesse loses as long as you don’t cash a second heart. If he had five, pitch a heart and a club from dummy and two clubs from your hand as he cashes his remaining winners. Now cash a second heart and if the Q doesn’t drop you still have the club finesse available as a last resort.