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A Best Shot

North Deals
N-S Vul
K 10 7 6 4
A J 10 7 6
4 2
A K 9 8 7 5 3 2
8 5
West North East South
1 2 3
Pass 3 NT Pass 4
All Pass

West led a spade, declarer ducked from dummy, and East won the K and continued the suit. Declarer then played a third round of spades, pitching his diamond loser, West ruffing.
West then tried to take his side's diamond tricks, leading the Q. Declarer covered with the K, East played the ace, and declarer ruffed.
Declarer drew two rounds of trumps, both following. With West's ruff, that accounted for all the outside trumps.
10 7 4
A J 10 7
9 8 7 5 3
8 5
The declarer I was watching looked at this situation and did not see his chance for an overtrick. Instead, he just lead a club to dummy. He got lucky. West, holding the K-Q, failed to split her honors, and declarer made 11 tricks.
But wait, if West has the K-Q, why play for her to misdefend? Instead, play her for the J. On the run of the hearts, the situation is:
8 5
On the last heart, West must give up in one of the minors.
The full deal was:
K 10 7 6 4
A J 10 7 6
8 6
Q J 6
Q J 9 3
K Q 4 3
K 10 9 7 5 3
10 4
A 8 2
9 2
4 2
A K 9 8 7 5 3 2
8 5
Note that this contract can be set with a K lead.
It could also have been set with a club shift after the spade lead. Declarer would be forced to win in dummy. In danger of losing a heart, a diamond, a club and a spade, declarer has to pitch a minor loser immediately. If Declarer pitches his diamond on the third spade, West leads a high club and a third round of clubs, and East ruffs with the ten, promoting a second trump trick for the defense. If Declarer pitches a club, then West leads a diamond to East's ace and East and East leads a fourth round of spades, again promoting a second trump trick for the defense.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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