Great Fight for A Four Spade Contract

We played this hand at the teams championship with Eva Csiby. Although we were on defense, this hand gave us excellent joy. Let's see, what had happened?

Dealer South both non vulnerable

The opening lead was the Jack of clubs, declarer played the Ace, and East should give a lead directing card to this trick, because West promised 5+ cards in clubs, so declarer's shortness is obvious for both defenders.

But which suit should we show? The Ace of spades and also the Ace of hearts is most probably in the declarer's hand. The Ace of diamonds is not an information, West should know  from the bidding, that East has it. And if South has it, defenders will have 10 tricks if West doesn't turn to hearts in time.

An honour in hearts is also known in East's hand. The key informaton therefore is the ten of hearts, because East can see, that sooner or later she comes into and end-play situation, which should be defended by West. If West has J9x  in hearts, he can play the Jack of hearts later, and if he has the Ace of hearts, the defenders still have good chance to defeat the contract.

Now declarer played the King of spades from the dummy, he ruffed the Queen of clubs in his hand, and played the eight of diamonds. West must put the ten, because otherwise East will come into an end-play in this trick.

West won the 1st diamond trick, because the declarer knew from the bidding, that Ace of diamonds is at East.

Now it is time for West to think about the complete hand.

The declarer has 8 tricks already, (7 spades and a club) and he might have the Ace or King of hearts as the 9th trick.

If we play  small heart, declarer asks for small heart, and East has to put the ten. When South ducks it, East is in end-play, because he can play only diamonds for the King or heart to the Queen. The double chicane gives the contract inmediately.

Now, it is time to play the Jack of hearts from West hand. If Declarer covers it with the Queen, defenders will have 2 heart and 2 diamond tricks to defeat the contract.

It is a way better play, that declarer wins the Jack of hearts in the hand with the Ace, and plays the Jack of diamonds, hoping, that Queen of diamonds is also at East's hand, and she will be eliminated.

Still, defenders can defeat the contract now. West puts the Queen of diamonds to the Jack, and declarer cannot play the King, because he loses his 10-th trick this way.

So West wins the Queen of diamonds, and now he can play the nine of hearts to collect two heart and 2 diamond tricks before South can establish his diamond trick, ruffing out the Ace of diamonds.

Great fight, but there is a much better way for South to win the contract. Can you find it?

The solution comes in a separate article.