Hand of the Week
After West’s pre-emptive raise to game and partner’s takeout double, you have landed in a good game. West leads the ♥2 and East wins the king, shifting to the ♠10. How do you plan to make 11 tricks?
Suppose you win the spade lead with the king and play a trump to the ace. That will not be success if East shows out, for West must subsequently take two trump tricks:
A better process would have been to count your winners and losers. As your third club can be discarded on a spade winner, the only danger is losing two trump tricks. After winning the spade switch with the king, you should lead the ♦6 from your hand, intending to run the card whenever West produces the five. It will do no harm if this trick is lost to East, because then trumps will be no worse than 3-1 and you will hold your losses to one trick in the suit.
Observe that on this layout, it will do West no good to play the ♦9 on the first round of trumps. You will take it with dummy’s ace and, when East shows out, cross back to hand with a spade to lead the ♦8. If West plays low, the 8 will win, and if he covers with the 10, you will take the trick with the king. Then, as your J-7 in trumps will be equal against the queen, you will lose only one trump trick. You will make four spades, five trumps and two clubs.
Of course, if it is West who discards on the first round of trumps, you will cash dummy’s top trumps and continue with a third round towards your hand. All you will lose is a heart and a trump.
Do you notice anything else about the layout? It is that it would not have been a good idea to pass the double of 4♥. The East-West hands fit so perfectly that 4♥ is cold – East can make seven trumps and take three club ruffs in the West hand.