Terence Reese
Terence Reese

In a no trump contract the delcarer’s first concern is usually whether or not to hold up in the suit led; his second, which suit to develop first.

His choice will be determined by considerations of entry or by the need to attack the danger hand. More simply, there may be two possible suits to establish and no special tactical reason for prefering one to the other.

Then it will be a question as to which suit is more likely to develop the extra tricks. This will often be the suit that is weaker in top cards, as on the following hand:

Dealer South All Vul

 K 5 2
 A K J 7 3
 K 9 5
 K 10
 J 10 9 8 4
 8 4
 6 3
 7 5 4 2
 6 3
 Q 10 9 6
 Q J 10 8
 A Q 3
 A Q 7
 5 2
 A 7 4 2
 J 9 8 6

The Auction:

West North East South
Pass 1 Pass 2NT
Pass 3NT End

Lead: J

South has seven top tricks and can see (if he thinks about it) that two more can surely be established in clubs; not so surely in hearts, for it Queen be wrong and the suit divide 4-2 only one long trick will be forthcoming.

Thus, although the hearts appear more glamorous South should play on clubs, where the tricks he needs can certainly be developed. He may as well go up with K and lead K from the table.

If South tries the other line of play, winning in hand with Q and finessing J, East, having the hearts and clubs both held, will abandon his partner’s spades and play on the solid diamonds.