A thin hope is better than none
Desmond Tutu ( who can play bridge) said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
Occasionally, when your partner has overbid badly, you seem to be in a dark, hopeless contract. Then, you should try to find a layout of the opposing cards that will permit you to succeed. In today’s deal, South is in three no-trump. West kicks off with fourth-highest from his spade suit, and East puts up the jack. What should declarer do? Did West have a more-effective opening lead?
Over North’s takeout double, South’s jump to three no-trump promised 13-15 points with preferably at least two spade stoppers.
South starts with only four top tricks: two spades (given trick one) and two clubs. He can establish three heart and three diamond winners, but that requires knocking out both of those aces, which must rest in the West hand, given his opening bid. If South takes the first trick and plays, say, a diamond, West can snatch the trick and continue with the spade king to set up his suit while he still has the heart ace as an entry. Declarer’s only chance is to play low from his hand at trick one, hoping that the spades are 6-1, not 5-2. Suppose East shifts to a club. South wins on the board and drives out the diamond ace. West continues clubs, but declarer ducks that trick, takes the third club, and dislodges the heart ace. He has nine tricks to cash.
West’s killing lead is the spade king, which would swallow his partner’s jack and leave him on lead to continue with the spade 10 should South play low.