SOMETIMES defenders attack in a weak spot. This may mean you have to abandon Plan A, and adopt countermeasures instead. Can you find an effective plan B here?
East saw no reason to insist on a spade contract – his long suit might provide ample tricks for 3NT and the other unbid suits were covered. North led the seven of diamonds and South took the ace, then switched to the ten of hearts. Declarer covered with the king, which scored. He now had eight Sure Tricks, two spades, one heart, two diamonds and three clubs. He took the spade finesse, but South produced the queen and led the nine of hearts. Since North has started with AJ8x there were three heart losers to go with the two
tricks the defenders had already taken, and declarer was one down. ‘Well defended’ was the best he could say, but dummy was not impressed. How would dummy have played?
If hearts are 4-3 with the ace over your king-queen you have three heart losers – but by losing three hearts you can establish your fifth heart as your ninth trick. In any case, there is little to lose by cutting defenders’ communications, so you should return a low heart at trick three. If South wins and returns a heart it is easy to establish the long heart, discarding spades from dummy. If South switches back to diamonds you can win in hand and play another low heart. Even if South started with a doubleton and North has AJ876 he cannot cash two more hearts without establishing your queen; and if he does not cash the ace of hearts you can afford a losing spade finesse after all.
A variation on the old principle that in a no-trump contract you should aim to play on the suits where you already have losers, rather than find extra losers by playing on stronger suits.