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Controlling the game of your long suit can be critical to your success, as this seemingly simple hand proves. Ask yourself: would you have made this play? . . ?
West leads by 4 ♦ to East’s J ♦ and South’s Q ♦. Since four extra tricks are needed and the hearts will only provide three, the statement led 5 ♣ to the dummies K ♣ – and the hand was over! East won A ♣, returned a diamond to break the suit open and clear the suit, and later, when East A ♥ won, there were two more diamond tricks to earn. Because the club and digging suit is very bad, it looks like South is doomed, but deeper thoughts will reveal the solution.
After trick 1, ♦ A10 is safe from attacks from the west, but not from the east. When playing clubs, this should be taken into account. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl. If East rises by A ♣, there are now four club jerseys; if East follows low, the declarant wins with J ♣, and now switches to hearts. East can take his A ♥ and return a diamond, but the declarant now has nine tricks.
If West A holds holds, or if the suit tears, this play is unnecessary, but for the layout it is the only way to succeed. If the defender first plays on the heart, while also holding A holding, East must immediately win and return a diamond – this is a simple decision the defender must make.