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These articles have been published with permission from Bridge Magazine.

So, Did You?

Game All

Dealer South

North
A74
AQ
J42
106532
South
K62
7532
AQ103
AK

West    North  East    South

                     1NT (15-17)

Pass     3NT    All Pass

Opening lead: Jack of hearts

Hopefully you try the queen of hearts. No luck. East wins the king and returns the 8, West playing the 6. The ball is now in your court. Plan the play.

So, did you lead the jack of diamonds from the dummy at trick two? If you did, don't admit it in public. In order to make this hand, you need four diamond tricks, so you must find the king of diamonds with East. However, if East has four or more diamonds you cannot take four diamond tricks as long as East covers the jack.

If East has three diamonds, it doesn't matter whether you lead the jack first or a little one first and it doesn't matter which one you lead the second time either once you are back in dummy.

To make a long story short, the two critical diamond holdings that you should concern yourself with are East having a singleton or doubleton king. In the first case leading low produces the king and an easy four diamond tricks. In the second, you lead low, East plays low and you play the ten (or queen) which wins. Next cash the A in case an honour falls. If it does, cash a second club. If one hand has QJ doubleton of clubs, you can get home with three clubs and only three diamonds. If nothing exciting happens in clubs, return to dummy with the K and lead another low diamond. If the king pops up, you have four diamond tricks, the jack being one of them. If it doesn't, take a second finesse and hope diamonds are 3-3.

The Full deal:

North
A74
AQ
J42
106532
West
J53  
J1096  
9765
74  
East
Q1098
K84
K8
QJ98
South
K62
7532
AQ103
AK

There are several other similar type card combinations to be on the lookout for when four tricks are needed and there is an unassailable side suit return entry to either hand.

(a)   10xx     (b)       Qxx      (c)        10xx     (d)       Jxx

AQJx     AJ10x    AKJx     AK10x

In (a) and (b) start with a low card from the North hand and if the finesse works, re-enter the North hand and lead another low card catering to Kx with East.

In (a) or (b) if there is no return entry to dummy, start with the honour.

In (c) and (d) start with the ace in case the queen is singleton. If not, enter dummy and lead low to the jack (or 10) catering to Qx with East. In both (a) and (c) dummy's 10 is a big card.

In both (c) and (d) if the lead is in dummy and there is no return entry to dummy, lead low to the jack or ten picking up a singleton, doubleton or tripleton queen in the East hand.