# Puzzle This

Playing IMPs, as South, you bid to 4. West leads the K. If hearts split 3–2, you can count 10 tricks (five hearts, one spade, one diamond and three clubs). What is your plan if hearts split 4–1, with the following layout?

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

Despite two apparent losers in both hearts and diamonds, the plan is to take the same 10 tricks. Start by winning the diamond lead. After playing the top two trumps, you are undeterred when you receive the bad news.

At trick four, cash the ♠A. Get to dummy with a club and ruff a spade. Return to dummy with a club and ruff another spade. Play to dummy’s last club for your ninth trick to reach this position:

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

Now lead the ♠6. If East discards a diamond, ruff for your 10th trick. If East ruffs, pitch a diamond and you will score a trump at the end to make the contract. When West shows out, revealing the 4–1 trump split, this line of play works as long as East can’t ruff a club.

This technique is known as an elopement.