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Thankful for the 2

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ J 10 3
5 4
A K 8 6 4
♣ J 10 8
South
♠ A Q 8
A K Q J 8 6 2
♣ A Q 9
West North East South
2♣
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass 4NT Pass 5
Pass 5♠ Pass 6
All Pass

After this enthusiastic auction, West led the 10. Declarer won the ace and saw that if he could get to dummy he would have 12 tricks (seven hearts, two diamonds, two of one black suit and the ace of the other). At trick two, therefore, he led the ♠Q from hand, hoping the defender with the king would take it. Then, as long as there was no defensive ruff, the ♠J would provide an entry to dummy.

The expert West had an inkling this might be the case, so he played low in tempo. Declarer then tried the ♣Q, but East was just as canny. He, too, withheld his black king.

Declarer finally decided that his best chance was to endplay West with a trump to force an off-suit lead, so he had to decide whether West had led from 10-9 doubleton or 10-9-low of trumps. Luckily, he remembered that East had followed at trick one with the 7. Declarer thought it unlikely that East would make that play from 7-3 doubleton, so the K was cashed.

Declarer had a moment of anxiety when West followed with the 9, but when East showed out, all was well.

Declarer put the 2 on the table, forcing West to win with the 3. Now, no matter what West led, declarer would be able to get to dummy to take two discards on the high diamonds.

The full deal:

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