# Puzzle This

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

Playing IMPs, West leads the K against your 3NT. You duck, hoping that West will continue the suit, but West switches to the ♠9 instead. What should you do now?

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

There are several ways to try for nine (or more) tricks because you have two 6–2 fits to explore. If the spades behave, you’ll have plenty of tricks, but what if they don’t? If you win the ♠K at trick two and continue with the ♠Q, you’ll be in big trouble if either defender shows out.

To give yourself the best shot, test the clubs first by playing a club to the king and then the ♣J to the ace. If both defenders follow, simply play another club to set up the suit. The important thing to notice, however, is that you still have an entry to dummy and the good clubs because the ♠Q is still on the board. If you rashly cash the ♠Q at trick three, you would have no way to get to the established clubs.

And what happens if the clubs split poorly? Try the spades. Play the ♠Q, and if both defenders follow, cross to your hand and run the spade suit.

And if both suits break poorly? In that case, you can’t make it!

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