You are once again in a team match and find yourself in a vulnerable game. West leads the ♦Q, which you win with the ace. Can you see a way to 10 tricks on this deal?
Both declarers won the first trick with the ♦A, led a low trump to dummy’s ace and drew the remaining adverse trumps by leading the ♠ to the queen. The first declarer continued with a low heart to the queen. East took this with the king, cashed the ♦K and exited with the ♣J. Declarer took this with the ace, then played the ♥A and another heart. East took the trick with the ♥J and exited with a club. Declarer then had to concede defeat as he had an unavoidable club loser.
At the second table, the declarer also played on hearts at trick four. His approach was to win the trick with the ♥A and continue with a low heart toward his hand. East took the trick with the ♥J and he too cashed the ♦K before exiting with the ♣J. Declarer won with the ♣K and led the ♥10 to East’s king. After winning the club return, declarer crossed to dummy with a trump to the king to park his remaining club on the established ♥Q.
How do the two lines of play compare? The first line will produce a second trick in hearts when West has the king has the king of hearts, or when the suit is 3-3, or when the ♥J is singleton or doubleton. There will also be a second trick when West has a void in hearts. All of this gives about three chances in four of making a 10th trick.
The second approach works whenever West has the king, or when East has the jack. It also wins when the suit is 3-3, and when East has a singleton or doubleton ♥K. The upshot is that the second approach makes two tricks in the heart suit a little more than nine times in ten. The full deal: