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A Basic Example

10 9 8
Q 6
Q 5 4
A J 8 7 4
J 7 6 4 3 2
A 4 3
A 8
9 4
 
K 5
9 8 7 2
J 9 7 2
Q 10 5
A Q
K J 10 5
K 10 6 3
K 6 2
In 3 NT, spade leads and West's two aces hold declarer to seven tricks.
In 5 , the defense gets a club, a heart, and a diamond.
Can 4 make? If the defense tries to force declarer to lose control, by leading spades, declarer wins the Q on the first round, leads trumps until West wins, and wins a second spade. Declarer draws a third round of trumps, leaving East with a trump, then leads a diamond. West should duck, declarer wins the Q, then ducks a diamond to West. West can now force declarer to ruff a spade at this position:
4
A J 8 7 3
J 7 6 2
9 4
 
9
J 9
Q 10 5
10
K 10
K 6 3
What should East pitch? If East pitches a club, declarer ruffs, cashes two clubs and leads the diamond off dummy, finessing with the 10. East gets the last trick with the outstanding trump.
If, instead, East ruffs the spade, South overruffs and only has a club loser remaining, again taking the diamond finesse.
So, East must pitch a diamond, leading to this position:
4
A J 8 7
7 6 2
9 4
 
9
J
Q 10 5
K 10
K 6 3
Declarer now plays two top diamonds. If East ruffs, he is forced to lead from his clubs, while if East pitches a club, East only gets his trump trick at the end.
Any defense which does not force in spades will allow declarer to lose just the two red aces and a club.
The five-card end position above is quite common in 4-2 fits in the collection. It's an odd sort of trump strip-squeeze, almost. East is endplayed if he ruffs, but he loses his "natural" club trick if he pitches a club.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1999-2014.
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