A defensive problem from a second division league match at the start of this year's Manchester league season.
You lead the spade ace against three notrump, partner playing the six and declarer the seven, on another spade dummy discards a diamond, partner wins with the king, declarer playing the jack. Partner returns the ten of spades, declarer wins with the queen, you discard a small heart and dummy discards another diamond. Declarer plays a heart to the jack, partner discarding a spade and then four rounds of clubs ending in hand while partner follows twice and then discards a diamond and a spade. What do you discard on the fourth club?
If you throw a heart declarer will make three heart tricks, a spade, a diamond and four clubs. If you discard a small diamond declarer will lead a diamond, if you win and return a diamond, he can then duck a heart to you to force you to lead away from the heart king. If you duck the diamond he will win the diamond king and exit with a diamond so that you have to lead away from your heart king. The only winning defence is the spectacular discard of the diamond ace. Partner's return of the spade ten at trick three signals (suit preference) that she has something in diamonds.
The full deal was
The defence would be easier if East ducks the second spade.
Thanks to Nicholas Greer for reporting and analysing this deal.