Nobody plays in clubs anymore, or so it seems. I say we stop this discrimination with an ERAFC(Equal Rights Amendment For Clubs). Meanwhile, can you make these club contracts?
Assume hearts will be continuedwhatever you decide to do.
Yes, 3 NT would be better, but its too late for that. Your task is to win 11 tricks in clubs, which is easy if you make the key play at trick one. Do not cover the Q. If you covered, East would win the A and return a heart to make you ruff. Then, with clubs 3-1, you could not avoid losing a second heart (or a trump if you ruffed two hearts).
Note the difference if you play low. If West leads another heart, it establishes a trick in dummy (you will finesse the 10), after which you have no problems.
West held: J-9-4-2 Q-J-8-3 J-7 J-10-6
This looks too easy, which should be an omen. Remember Murphys Law? If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Wests lead appears to be innocuous, but in fact it poses a grave danger. It is a singleton, and with routine play you would suffer a diamond ruff and fail.
The only way to succeed is to win the Q in dummy, then cash the A-K to discard both of your top diamonds. Hows that for wasting honors! The rest of the play is easy, as you will lose only the A and a spade trick.
West held: K-J-10-7 Q-9-6-5-4-3 10 3-2
There are two potential lines of play: (1) establish the diamond suit, or (2) crossruff. You may fail with Line 1 if you ruff and shorten your trumps, and with Line 2 you will have to give up a spade, then a trump lead will be fatal.
The solution is to postpone your decision. Discard a spade on the second heart. If hearts are continued, you have a complete crossruff. If West shifts to a trump, win the 8; A; diamond ruff; A; diamond ruff with A; club to hand to draw trumps and claim.
West held: J-10-9-2 A-K-7-2 Q-10-9-2 3
© 2000 Richard Pavlicek