Opening lead: eight of clubs
Assume you’re in four spades and West leads a club. The first thing you do when dummy appears is to count your losers, and this tells you that at most you will lose a club, a diamond and two hearts. You note further that if West has the king of hearts, you can eliminate a heart loser by finessing the queen. However, it’s more realistic to assume that East has the king since he was the one who opened the bidding.
If you’re a conscientious declarer, you immediately begin to look for some way to avoid the heart finesse. Long experience shows that many contracts can be made by avoiding finesses rather than by taking them, so you should make every effort to find a satisfactory alternative. And, if you give the matter serious thought, a possible solution emerges.
So you cover West’s eight-of-clubs lead with the 10, won by East with the jack. East then plays the ace of clubs, and you take the first step in the plan you have formulated. Instead of ruffing the ace of clubs, you discard the 10 of diamonds.
This play assures the contract. When East continues with a low club, you ruff high, cash the ace of diamonds, lead a trump to dummy’s queen and ruff the nine of diamonds. You then return to dummy with a trump and lead dummy’s last club, the queen. East covers with the king, but instead of ruffing it, you discard a heart.
This leaves East with no recourse. He is forced to lead a heart into dummy’s A-Q-5, or yield a ruff-anddiscard by returning a diamond or a club. Either way, you wind up with 10 tricks.
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