16th May 2018

S J87
H 865
D AK954
C Q2

S K4
H AK32
D Q1082

Dealer South N-S Vul matchpoints

Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Pass

This deal is from a duplicate pairs at Cheadle Hulme Bridge Club on 23rd April.
A quick and uninformative auction left South in three notrump on the lead of the spade ten.
South won with the king.  A quick count of the tricks showed that there were nine on top and chances for the tenth of the club finesse or a three-three heart break, but there was some danger that the defence had four (or more) spade tricks.   Usually it is right to run the long suit in this type of situation and watch the discards carefully.  So declarer ran the diamonds (cashing the Ace first to pick up a four nil break either side and taking care to unblock the middle sized diamonds in the South hand).  West threw a spade, a heart and a club, East discarded a club and two spades.  What now?  Decide what to do before scrolling down.

Declarer decided that, since West had thrown a spade he was likely to be holding the guarded king of clubs and that East did not have the spade queen or he would have held on to spades.  So he cashed the top hearts to remove any heart exits from West's hand and exited with a spade.  West cashed three spade winners, but was forced to lead a club away from Kx in the endgame to concede ten tricks.