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Unless he can see that a switch is obvious, the chances are that East will return a second club, giving you the time to set up the heart suit. Creating a Losing Option Declarer can cause the defenders many a problem simply by leading towards the closed hand. Let’s look at the first example from the defender’s seat. Suppose you are East here, defending a spade contract: ♥ Q 7 5 3 ♥ A 10 6 2 The ♥3 is led from dummy. You decide to play low and declarer wins with the king, partner playing the four.

Should you play for the ♦K, the ♥A, or the ♥Q to be onside? The correct answer is not even close. For sure, each chance individually is 50%. If you only intend to take one of the finesses, then it matters little which one you choose. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to combine some of your chances? By far the best chance of success is to win the opening spade lead in dummy and immediately play a heart to the king. If the ace is onside or West holds up the ace for one of the reasons outlined above, you will have your twelfth trick.

Suppose you simply win East’s ten with the jack, cross to a club honor, and finesse the queen of diamonds. West will see little future in a spade continuation and will doubtless switch to hearts, beating the contract. A better idea is to win the spade lead with dummy’s ace, continuing with a diamond finesse. If West concludes that you would not rise with the ace holding king-jack in your hand, he may persevere with spades. The scheme that works best as the cards lie is to play low from dummy and to win East’s ten with the king.

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