Hand of the Week
After this old-fashioned strong two auction, West leads a trump. East wins the ♥A and returns a second trump, West following. How do you plan the play?
It may seem that you need diamonds to be 3-3 to make 12 tricks. However, suppose the full deal is:
The crucial play comes at trick one. When East wins with the ♥A, you must retain the 8, following with a higher trump. Similarly, you win the second round of trumps high, again retaining the crucial 8.
The next move is to cash the ♣A and ♣K before crossing to dummy with the ♠A to ruff a club high. As the cards lie, this establishes two club tricks and you can reach them and draw the last trump by playing the ♥8 to dummy’s 9. You make two spades, four trumps, two diamonds and four clubs.
Of course, if clubs had not been 3-3, you would have fallen back on the diamond suit. You would cash the ♦A and ♦K and ruff the third round, hoping to establish two long diamonds.