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Improve your chances #2(Not for experts)
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North
KJ2
AK53
KJ5
KJ2
South
A97653
2
876
A103
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2NT
P
3
P
4
P
P
P

You reach 4 on a normal auction and receive a low heart lead(3rd/5th). When the Q drops there are 10 easy tricks and if both diamonds and clubs work there are 12 tricks.  Let's ignore the side suits for now and just concentrate on the spades.

We will never pick up Qxx in either hand as there is no reason to play for spades not to break.  We're still in good shape as long as we avoid losing 3 tricks in the minors.  Playing for a honor onside or guessing the Q seems like a good line.  Q10xx onside can be picked up for 1 loser and we'll be in a similar position in the minors. I'm going to leave out considerations with QTxx in either hand as that would require a much longer analysis.

Now let's think about how we want to play the minors. Guessing the Q would be nice but avoiding the guess is even better.  If we play diamonds first and either honor is in front of the KJ then we don't need to guess clubs anymore. That seems like a pretty good plan.  Play a couple of spades and test the before trying to guess clubs.  Is there any reason we shouldn't play a to the A?

There is one very good reason. In order to improve our chances we can try to eliminate the hearts while we prepare the rest of the play. There's a slight risk in playing a but considering the lack of opposing bidding it's not very much.

We trump a and play the A with everyone following. The K sees West show out so we have a trump loser. K pitching a followed by a ruff finishes the elimination with West throwing a on the K and East throwing a on the 4th round of hearts.

North
J
KJ5
KJ2
South
97
87
A103

At this point we can play either a trump to East or try to guess .  There's a slight extra chance for an overtrick by playing a instead of trying to guess now.  Either play guarantees the contract.

What if West were the player with the long spade? Does anything change?

Looking at the position we see that it does matter.  I've provided duplicates of all the important cards so that either East or West will win depending on how we misplay. If we play a trump East may pitch a club, win the and exit with the Q.That leaves us with no trump in either hand and an unavoidable club loser. For illustrative purposes I've made the suit poisoned. in actual play East may start squirming with that 3rd round of trump.

However, playing a gives us the same helpful East as in the previous position. Now East has a number of losing options.  Return a so that we can ruff and sluff, return a to avoid the guess, or return a to provide a pitch for our loser.  The play is the option we want as that gives us a ruff and sluff with a club guess for an overtrick.

It's always nice when you can enlist the opponents in helping you make your contracts.

West
Q
AQ10
Q98
North
J
KJ5
KJ2
East
Q
AQ10
Q98
South
97
87
A103
D

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