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Taking a Chance

East Deals
E-W Vul
IMPs
From: OKbridge
Q J 8 6 4
6 3
Q 6 5 2
K 4
 
10 7
A K J 10
A K 10 9
J 9 2
West North East South
Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 * Pass 2
Pass 3 NT All Pass
*Transfer

West leads the 6 against three notrump. How can we make this contract?
We clearly can't attack spades, because the opponents will likely take two spades and three clubs before we can set up tricks.
That means we will have to rely on the heart finesse. We can get a club trick, four diamond tricks (assuming that suit behaves), and four heart tricks.
The only problem with this plan is that we can only take the heart finesse once. That works okay if East has only three hearts to the queen, but West's 6 is probably from a five-card suit.
When this was played out at an OKbridge tournament, many declarers ducked the club. A few made the inspired play of the K. Those who did were rewarded with this full deal:
Q J 8 6 4
6 3
Q 6 5 2
K 4
9 5 3
9 7 2
J
A Q 7 6 5 3
 
A K 2
Q 8 5 4
8 7 4 3
10 8
10 7
A K J 10
A K 10 9
J 9 2
There is certainly a danger in playing the K to the first trick - you could go down a lot that way. Still, I think that is the better plan.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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