Declarer normally makes a survey of his winners and/or losers when he starts to play a hand. If he is in a suit contract, he counts his losers; in notrump, he counts his winners.
However, this approach has its exceptions, especially in suit play, when there are ruffs available in one or both hands. In such cases, declarer might find it more convenient to count winners in estimating his prospects.
Thus, in the present case, if South counted only his losers, he would point to three in spades and (assuming he saw West’s cards) as many as five trump tricks. This would amount to a 1,400-point setback.
But the fact is that South need not lose eight tricks. Indeed, if he exercises no more than a reasonable degree of care, he can hold his losses to only three tricks and make the contract, despite West’s formidable array of trumps!
He wins the diamond lead with the ace and embarks on a campaign to score as many of his low trumps as he can. He returns a diamond to the king and ruffs a diamond, then cashes the A-K of clubs and ruffs another diamond.t
South has now won six tricks — two diamonds, two clubs and two diamond ruffs — and still has the J-7-6 of spades and A-Q-10-8 of hearts. West has the seven trumps he started with.
Declarer leads a spade, forcing West to ruff and return a trump to hand South his seventh trick. Declarer plays another spade, forcing West to ruff and lead another trump, handing South his eighth trick.
Finally, when declarer leads his last spade, West must ruff once more and return a trump to South’s A-Q to hand declarer his ninth and 10th tricks. Altogether, West is endplayed in trump three times!