# Puzzle This

North
♠ J 6
8 7 5 4
A K Q 2
♣ A K Q
South
♠ A 7
K Q 3 2
J 10 8 6
♣ 8 7 2
 West North East South 1♠ Dbl Pass 3♥ Pass 4♥ All Pass

West leads the ♠K, and you (South) win with the ace. What next?

View Solution

You need to tackle the trump suit. At first glance, it looks tempting to cross to the dummy in a minor suit and lead a trump toward the K Q. On this deal, however, that’s a bad plan. Why? Remember the bidding: West opened 1♠, so he must have almost all the missing high-card points. Therefore, he must have the A and there is no point in leading toward the K Q.

The best approach is simply to play a low trump from your hand at trick two. If the enemy trumps are 3–2, it doesn’t cost anything to play this way because you’ll lose two trump tricks maximum.

Notice, however, what happens if the A is singleton in the West hand. By playing a low trump the first time, you’ll still make your contract:

North
♠ J 6
8 7 5 4
A K Q 2
♣ A K Q
West
♠ K Q 10 9 8
A
9 7
♣ J 10 9 5 4
East
♠ 5 4 3 2
J 10 9 6
5 4 3
♣ 6 3
South
♠ A 7
K Q 3 2
J 10 8 6
♣ 8 7 2