East won the opening spade lead with the ace and returned the nine of spades. South won with his king and took a moment to plan the play. He had nine top tricks, but both hearts and clubs were blocked. He could lead a club to the ace, come back to his hand with a heart, and cash the king and queen of clubs. He would succeed if the jack and 10 of clubs both fell, or if the hearts split 3-3. Both of those chances were against the odds.
South finally came on a plan that was foolproof. He cashed the three high hearts in his hand, crossed to dummy with the ace of clubs, and cashed the ace of hearts. He exited dummy with a low diamond. The defense could take three diamond tricks, but they would have to put South back in his hand eventually to take his remaining black suit winners.
Easts spade return at trick two was normal, but note how a club shift, instead, would have helped the defense. South would have no sure-trick line of play. Declarer might well cross to his hand with a heart and lead a low club from his hand, hoping for a 4-3 split in clubs and a blockage in diamonds. This would give the defense a chance to prevail, but they would have to cash their three diamond tricks immediately. Thats not so easy on this deal, so kudos to them if they figure out how to do it.
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