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A Hand I Misdeclared
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North
8654
A8652
Q9
103
South
K7
Q
1087
AKQ9762
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
3
P
P
P

 

This was actually from an IMP game. But, since only overtricks are at stake, you can pretend it's matchpoints if that makes you happier.

Playing standard leads and carding, West leads the Q to the ace. East returns the 3 to your king and West's nine. What is your plan?

West
QJ109
KJ107
A53
J8
North
8654
A8652
Q9
103
East
A32
943
KJ642
54
South
K7
Q
1087
AKQ9762
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

It appears West began with QJ109, and, from the auction, it appears the diamond honors are split. If you play a diamond, the defense must shift to clubs, and if you then play another diamond, the defense must play clubs again. At that point, if East has the sole diamond guard, you have a double squeeze for the rest. Unfortunately, when I played this hand, that's as far as my thinking went.

I should have reasoned further. East must hold the diamond jack, else it will be impossible for him to be left with the sole diamond guard. If trumps are 3-1, it won't matter what you do. The hand with the stiff club must win the first diamond, and the other hand must win the second. So your problem is to ensure West wins one of the diamond tricks when clubs are two-two. As is often the case, articulating your problem is 80% of solving it. The solution is now clear. You must lead a diamond to the queen, then, on winning the club shift, lead the 10 from your hand. West may still duck this, but he risks letting you make five if he does. If, instead, you lead a diamond to the nine or fail to lead the ten next, it's trivial for West to duck.

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