West North East South
1H P 1S P
1N All Pass
Opening Lead: 4C
You are sitting North. Declarer plays low from the board and takes your partner’s Jack with the Queen. He leads to the King of Hearts and then leads the two of diamonds to his Ten, which you take with your King. What do you lead from this position?
The first question you must ask yourself is what is declarer’s intent? Clearly he wants to set up his diamonds. After getting rid of the Ace (in your hand), he’s got three good diamond tricks. But he’s got an entry problem. You have to get rid of the Ace of Clubs before he gets you to play your Ace of Diamonds. So, even though it looks bare and you don’t know where the Ten is, you must lead your King of Clubs, forcing him to take his Ace. If he is smart and ducks, you can then lead another Club forcing him to play the Ace which is now alone, and his last entry to the board is gone and he can give up on his three diamond tricks. It doesn’t matter that leading your king might set up his ten in his hand, if he has it (and he must have it because partner played the Jack on the first trick; if partner had the Jack-Ten, she would have played the Ten). You’re trading one trick for three because he won’t be able to get the diamonds. Here’s the full deal:
♠ A95 ♠ J832
♥ A6542 ♥ K
♦ T8 ♦ QJ652
♣ QT6 ♣ A53
Bidding: East opened a woeful 11 HCP hand, apparently giving himself 5 points for his singleton heart king. That’s the only reason I can figure that he could pull out an opening bid here. West properly responded 1H and North, with the best hand at the table had to pass. East responded 1S and even though West had 10 HCP and 5 hearts, he disdained New Minor Forcing and closed out at 1N.
Play: North salivated at defending this and led fourth from longest and strongest. If North is wise enough to lead her club king at the pivotal point when she got in with the king of diamonds, West would be lucky to make 1N. As it was, however, North switched to a heart and West was able to set up the diamonds while he still had the ace of clubs as an entry and made 2, 3 diamonds, 2 hearts, 2 clubs and a spade. However, West misplayed or the hand is relatively easy. He should not lead to the singleton king of hearts, which removes his only other entry to the board. If he starts diamonds immediately, he can set up the diamonds because he will have two entries. By immediately taking the heart king off the board before starting the diamonds, he gave the defense a chance, which it then botched.