Hand 8

From actual play (June 10, 2009). Matchpoints. You would probably come to this declarer play anyway, but it is an interesting exercise in counting. Your Hand:


The auction is:

RHO  you  LHO  pd
1C    1D  1H   2D
X(1)  3D   P    P
(1) support double, showing exactly 3 hearts.
The lead is the J and dummy comes down with


RHO plays the king of hearts. It looks like RHO has the ace, and if you bother to ask, you will find out that your opponents lead the 10 from AJ10(x).

RHO leads back a trump. LHO wins the ace and plays another round of trump, leaving you with this situation:


Now what? Should you play two rounds of clubs and ruff the third? That ruff is safe, but then you have to get back to your hand to draw the last trump before your last club winner is ruffed. If clubs are 4-3, you can play three rounds and then safely ruff the fourth. But if clubs are 5-2, then your club winner might be ruffed.

Can you count the hand well enough to resolve the club situation? And while you are counting, can you be sure the ace of spades is onside? If it isn't, maybe you can get the opponents to lead spades. When you are done, click here

The hearts are easy to count -- RHO said he has three, so LHO has four. Oddly enough, you could have placed the spades at trick 1. Neither defender can have 5, or else they would have bid spades. If LHO was 4-4 in the majors, he would have made a negative double. So RHO has four spades. Depending on who has the last diamond, RHO is either 4-3-3-3 or 4-3-2-4. In either case, you can safely play three rounds of clubs and ruff the fourth round.

That pesky ace of spades? RHO has 7 HCP in hearts, none in diamonds, and at most 1 in clubs. Given his flat hand, he probably has the ace of spades to give him 12 HCP for his opening bid in first seat.