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A 10 8 4
Q 8 3 2
J 4 2
10 9 7 3
Q 9 7 6
A Q 6 5
J 8 6 5 4 2
K 5 3 2
J 10
A K 9 7 6 4
K 9 8 7 3
North/South can make 3 NT from either side, but the two minor suit games are more interesting.


We'll start with the easiest denomination first.
Obviously, a club lead by East will set 5 declared by North, leading to an immediate ruff. If declared by South, West can give his partner a ruff, but at the expense of the second natural club trick.


The risk to declaring 5 is that the defense will force declarer to ruff two hearts, setting up a third trump trick for the defense.
But if East is on lead, that threat doesn't materialize. Suppose East leads a low heart. West is forced to contribute the queen, and declarer wins the ace and immediately attacks clubs. West wins, and continues hearts, but declarer can play the 8 from dummy, and East's king is forced. When West gets in with the second club, the 10 is high in North's hand.
If declared by South, however, West can profitably lead hearts. South must fly the A, with East and West allowed to keep the K-Q. Each time declarer loses a trump to West, West can lead a heart, setting up West's own long club trick.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 2000-2009.
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