Where is the queen?
(Page of 2)

Playing at a club game, the diamond suit presented a nice little puzzle which I thought contained a useful lesson. No double squeezes, just a simple practical way to possibly pick up an extra trick.

LHO leads the 6, and dummy tables KJ84. You are holding AT92. What a friendly lead, giving a way a suit in which you otherwise had a guess.

If you put in the J, and RHO doesn't cover, how do you later play the suit after drawing trumps?

It might feel natural to play the A from your hand. If both follow the Q is coming down next trick. It is only Q-4th you have to worry about, and surely after righty doesn't cover the J it must be percentage to cater to lefty holding the protected Q.

Do you see what's wrong with this logic?

I didn't tell you about EW opening leads. They are 4th best.

With this piece of information the layout becomes clear. West can"t possibly have started with Q-4th - there are not two cards between the Q and 6 missing.. The lead of the 6 must have been shortness or from Q76. If anyone started with Q-4th, it is RHO; that is the layout that must be guarded against. Low to the K, and if lefty shows out you can pick up the suit.

Maybe it doesn't matter since Q-4th in the W should be impossible, but let's cross check. Is it realistic that righty would have ducked from Q-4th?

Absolutely; put yourself in righy's place. The only cards higher than the 6 that RHO can't see are the AT9. There is no holding with two of those from which LHO would lead the 6. The lead must be from shortness, and declarer must have AT9(2). Putting in the Q takes away any guess in the suit. Ducking makes it possible for declarer to get it wrong. A club declarer might cover, but it's not that hard to find the duck.

While it wasn't rocket science, I thought it was a great example of the inferences you can make if you stop and think about the opening lead.

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