Ludington Daily News – 18 Ago 1975

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Opening lead: 4.

Let’s say you’re in 3NT and West leads a spade. How should you play the hand?

You start with seven high-card tricks. To make the contract you must more two low-card tricks and you note that this is possible in three different suits — hearts, diamonds and clubs. Thus, you can win the spade with the ace and play the A-K. If the suit is divided 3- 3, you make the contract because you have built up two extra heart tricks.

You can also make the contract by playing the A-K-x, provided that suit is divided 3-3. It would clearly be wrong to try to establish diamonds because, even it they were divided 3-3, you’d have no entry to your hand to cash them. So you must choose between hearts and clubs.

Let’s assume you played the A-K-x of either suit. In that case, when the suit you selected proves to be divided 4-2, you would go down. But both these plays are wrong, though they could of course prove to be right in a given situation. The proper suit to attack is clubs, but in a slightly different way.

You should win the spade lead in dummy and return a low club. As it happens, this play produces four club tricks, whether or not East steps up with the queen. The advantage of this method of play is that it does not depend solely on a 3-3 club break. It also brings home the contract when the suit is divided 4-2 and East has the queen. Whether East has two or four clubs does not matter. Tackling the clubs in this fashion gives you two shots at the contract, as opposed to only the one chance you have if you start with the A-K of either hearts or clubs.