1. Win the jack of diamonds with the king and draw the defenders’ trumps. Next cash the A-Q of diamonds, discarding a club from dummy. Then, to assure the contract, play the A-Q of clubs.
The defender who wins the queen of clubs with the king must either return a spade — in which case you lose only two spade tricks — or concede a ruff-and-discard by returning a diamond or a club.
The tempting club finesse should be deliberately avoided because, if it fails, a club return might well result in your losing three spade tricks and the contract. There is no reason to incur such a risk when you have a sure thing by playing otherwise.
Of course, if you run into a 4-0 trump division (a 10 per cent possibility), your best chance would lie in eventually attempting the club finesse. But if the trumps are divided 2-2 or 3-1, the suggested line of play is 100 per cent to succeed.
2. Assuming North has heart length, the only threat to the contract is if North has five hearts headed by the ace and South has the club queen. In that case you will go down if you win the first heart and the club finesse subsequently loses to South, who then returns his remaining heart.
To keep this from happening, you should refuse to win the first heart. South can’t harm you by shifting to another suit, so let’s assume he returns a heart. North can win and continue hearts, but now if the club finesse loses, North cannot regain the lead, so you are sure to finish with at least nine tricks.
Note that if North started with only four hearts, you can never lose more than four tricks — three hearts and a club — no matter how you or the defenders proceed.
For details about local bridge events, go to the HK Contract Bridge Association website www.hkcba.org