Neil Hay­ward

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODCLIMAX -

Con­tract: 3NT by South Open­ing Lead: 6. East plays the T. What is your plan? Rec­om­mended Line: The tough case is when West holds five hearts. If this is true, East holds three hearts. The plan is to reach a point where East gains the lead, but has no more hearts to lead. If East wins a trick early, and West gains the lead late, the con­tract is go­ing to fail, since West will have both an en­try and good hearts to cash. You need to en­sure things go the other way.

So, win the first trick, and lead the A fol­lowed by the T. It does not mat­ter who wins. Duck the next heart, and win the third. Then fi­nesse in clubs. If East wins this, there will be no fur­ther link be­tween the de­fend­ers in the case where hearts break 5-3. If hearts prove to be split 4-4, they take just two hearts.

The line of play de­scribed is anti-in­tu­itive. We love a fi­nesse, and to spurn one (in di­a­monds), hurts. But this hand proves the truth in what they say in gyms across the land: no pain, no gain.

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