CONTRACT: 4 South
OPENING LEAD: Q (top of a sequence)
Four possible losers: one trump and two or three clubs.
Line of play: pull trumps and discard the losers on dummy's solid hearts.
Trick 1 W: Q, A, 9, 3
Declarer has two lines of play. vEither he dislodges the trump ace, in which case the defense will shift to clubs for two quick tricks and maybe a ruff if the suit splits worse than 4-3.
Either he runs three heart winners to discard a club from the closed hand, again risking a ruff if hearts don't split evenly. vWhich option is better ? A seven-card suit (clubs) will split 4-3 62 % of the time while a six-card suit (hearts) will split 3-3 only 35 % of the time. vSouth opts for the first line of play, leading low toward his spade king.
Trick 2 N: 5, 2, J, A
Trick 3 W: A, 4, 5, 3
Trick 4 W: 10, J, K, 6
Trick 5 W: 2, Q, 7, 8
Declarer wins the rest of the tricks.
Declarer makes his contract.
The defense takes three tricks, one trump and two clubs.