DECLARER PLAY PROBLEM #23

Rubber bridge
North dealer
East-West vulnerable

 NORTH ♠ 9 6 2 ♥ J 7 ♦ K J 10 4 3 ♣ Q 9 4 SOUTH ♠ A K 4 ♥ K 4 3 ♦ A 5 2 ♣ A J 10 5
SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
PassPass
1 Pass1 Pass
2 NTPass3 NTPass
PassPass

West leads the six of hearts to the jack, queen and king.

Plan the play.

### Solution

 NORTH ♠ 9 6 2 ♥ J 7 ♦ K J 10 4 3 ♣ Q 9 4 WEST ♠ 10 7 3 ♥ A 10 9 6 2 ♦ 9 8 6 ♣ K 2 EAST ♠ Q J 8 5 ♥ Q 8 5 ♦ Q 7 ♣ 8 7 6 3 SOUTH ♠ A K 4 ♥ K 4 3 ♦ A 5 2 ♣ A J 10 5

TWO SHOTS FOR ONE. With only six top tricks, declarer must run one minor suit or the other before losing the lead. Rather than guess which minor-suit finesse to take, South should add an extra chance by cashing the ace-king of diamonds, in the hope that the queen of diamonds will drop. If this hope fails, declarer can then fall back on the club finesse. (If the club finesse is needed, correct technique is first to lead the nine from dummy, underplaying with the five, then to lead dummy's queen. This allows for three leads from dummy through East's holding, which will be needed if East holds four or more clubs including the king.)

(Based on a deal and analysis from the 1963 National Intercollegiate Par-Hand Bridge Tournament by William S. Root and Lawrence Rosler.)

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