It will give three if you return one
Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric and a bridge player, said, “Number one, cash is king ... number two, communicate ... number three, buy or bury the competition.” At the bridge table, number one, make or break the contract ... number two, communicate with your partner ... number three, bury the opposition. Today’s deal has elements of that, but also three and one are relevant -- why? South is in three notrump. West leads his fourth-highest heart, and East puts up the king. What should declarer do? South’s three-notrump rebid shows some 18-20 high-card points, at least six diamonds, in principle stoppers in the two unbid suits and often a singleton in responder’s suit. (It is a hand too strong for one diamond - one spade - three diamonds.)
South apparently starts with eight top tricks: four spades, two hearts ( given trick one) and two diamonds. He can also establish three or four more diamond winners. But to collect all of those spade tricks, how does declarer get into the dummy? The temptation is to cash the top diamonds and assume that the queen will drop, which it is supposed to do 58 percent of the time. Note, though, that if declarer can win six diamond tricks, he has nine tricks via one spade, two hearts and six diamonds. But just in case the diamond queen will not drop, South should be willing to sacrifice one trick to get the three spade winners in return. After winning trick one and cashing the spade ace, declarer should lead his diamond 10 or nine. If East ducks, South has six diamond tricks. If East wins, the diamond jack is a dummy entry.