West leads the ♠Q. You have nine easy tricks when diamonds are 2-2, but what if they aren’t?
What are your plans for dealing with 3-1 and 4-0 diamond breaks?
After taking the first trick with the ♠A, cash the ♦A. If all follow, your next move should be the ♥Q, intending to run it if West plays low. Should East produce the ♥K, you will need diamonds 2-2 or the ♥10 to fall in three rounds of the suit.
On the other hand, when the ♥Q holds, you can make certain of your contract! Simply play a diamond to the king and cash the ♥A, discarding a club from hand. When diamonds turn out to be 3-1, concede a diamond. You will make two spades, two hearts, four diamonds and a club for your contract. If diamonds are 2-2 the result is an overtrick.
If you carelessly play the top two diamonds before hearts, you may never get a second heart trick when diamonds are 3-1.
The full deal:
If, as in the diagram, diamonds prove to be 4-0, you must fall back on the heart suit to produce five tricks. Again, lead the ♥Q at trick three. West will play low, and if you do likewise the contract will fail. You must counter by overtaking the ♥Q with the ace and continuing with the ♥J. It is the only way to make five tricks in the suit. You pin East’s doubleton ♥10 and make 10 tricks. Any other plan will result in at least one down.