Silvio Sbarigia’s quiz 10th. Instincts.
North (dummy): ♠A ♥QJ653 ♦AQ9 ♣KQ76
South (declarer): ♠K652 ♥K7 ♦K62 ♣J1094
Contract: 3NT. West had opened 1♠ and leads ♠Q.
Make your playing plan.
The tricks are three in clubs (after the ace), three in diamonds, two in spades. A trick needs from hearts, but the race – our ninth trick vs West’s spades establishing – seems losing because West, being the opener, is marked for having both missing aces: we haven’t hope to block spades. If the hearts break would be 3-3, this suit could supply four tricks; being 4-2, we must find a way to dissuade West from putting the ace when we’ll play hearts. This way exists: play a little diamond for declarer’s king, then the seven from ♥K7 toward the dummy. If West puts the ace, we’ll make four tricks in hearts even against the 4-2. If West ducks, we have our ninth trick and can leave the hearts, going to establish the clubs.
This quiz is easy if we make a plan; only setting up a plan can safe us from the instinctive but wrong timing – moving clubs before the hearts – and from the usual but wrong, here, playing the hearts: little toward the head in the short side.