# Steps

### Hand of the Week

North
N-S
North
♠ A K Q 10 8
A K Q J 10
4
♣ K Q
South
♠ 9 3
8 7 4
K J
♣ A J 7 6 4 3
 West North East South 2♣ Pass 3♣ 5♦ 6♦ Pass 6NT All Pass

Perhaps 6 would have been a better choice than 6NT. The South hand, however, has a diamond stopper and no great length in either major, so the final choice is not unreasonable.

West leads the 5 and both opponents follow when you play dummy’s top two hearts.

Assuming West has at least eight diamonds for his preemptive barrage and neither black suit breaks, how do you plan to make this contract?

View Solution

Assuming that you plan to overtake in clubs on the second round of that suit, you have 11 sure tricks. If spades are 3-3 or clubs 3-2, you will have tricks to burn. Something more subtle is needed when neither suit divides. The full deal.

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

Cash a third round of hearts, one high club in dummy, followed by the top three spades. At this point, you will have a pretty good idea of East’s original distribution. After you cash the two remaining heart winners, everyone will be reduced to four cards.

On this layout, the last heart will force East to make a discard from the ♠J, his last diamond and the ♣10 9 8. A spade discard will be immediately fatal, as will a club, because you will overtake the ♣Q and run the suit.

Therefore, East must throw a diamond, removing his link to the West hand, and allowing you to cash the ♣Q and concede a spade to East’s bare jack! East’s last two cards will be the ♣10 9. You will be holding the ♣A J. Well played!

When West has one spade and two hearts, you will have to decide whether West began with 1=2=8=2 or 1=2=9=1 distribution. The former is nine times more likely than the latter, so you will need a very good reason not to play for a 3-2 division in clubs.