Improving Your Prospects

Dlr:
South
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ A Q 4 3
A K 10 8
10 7 6
♣ A 7
South
♠ K J 10 9 6 2
7 4
Q 5 2
♣ J 6
West North East South
2♠
Pass 4♠ All Pass

Partner has a nice hand, but after West leads the ♣K and dummy hits the table, you can see you have some work to do to get to 10 tricks. What are your plans to achieve that goal?

Solution

After the opening lead, declarer saw that his prospects were not bright: he had nine winners and four likely losers in the minors. One possibility was that West had both the Q and J.
After a little thought, declarer decided on a better option. He won with the ♣A, playing low from hand. He drew trumps with the king and ace and cashed the top two hearts. After ruffing a heart he returned to dummy with a trump to the queen and ruffed dummy‚Äôs remaining heart. He exited with the ♣J, taken by West with the queen. As East had signaled that he held an even number of clubs (king for count) and he had discarded a club on the second round of trumps, West shifted to a low diamond. East took this with the ace and returned the 8. Declarer went with the odds and played a low diamond (he reasoned that if East had begun both the A and K he might have played differently in the suit). West had to win K, and so declarer made 10 tricks: six trumps, two hearts, the Q and the ♣A. The full deal:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ A Q 4 3
A K 10 8
10 7 6
♣ A 7
West
♠ 7 5
5 3 2
K 4 3
♣ K Q 10 9 5
East
♠ 8
Q J 9 6
A J 9 8
♣ 8 4 3 2
South
♠ K J 10 9 6 2
7 4
Q 5 2
♣ J 6