1 P 2♣
P 2 P 4

The lead of the 4 is not particularly threatening, nor does it help us much! Looking at our losers in hand we have none in trumps, 1 in hearts, 3 in diamonds and 2 in clubs. Having 6 losers is never a good thing when you are in game! So we need to look at how to reduce our losers by at least 3 to try and make this contract. One of our club losers could disappear if the club finesse works (ie South has the ♣K) but our heart loser is inevitable, unless a defender forgets to take their A! Diamonds is where our problem really is as this account for half of our potential losers in this hand. Fortunately we can deal with these losing diamonds by ruffing them in the dummy, exploiting dummy’s shortage. Ideally we would like to ruff all 3 of our losing diamonds in the dummy, but to do that we are going to have to draw no trumps at all, and also we are going to need 3 entries to hand to do so. Fortunately for us, the opponents have not led trumps, so that is a good start, but we will still have the problem of entries to hand. We have one entry in the shape of the A, but we need 2 more if we are to ruff all of our losing diamonds. These entries can only be with our trumps, but we can’t afford to draw any trumps, so we are going to have to ruff hearts back to hand. This means we are going to have to create a heart void in hand by leading this heart early, and who knows we might set the K up as a trick in the process.

So, win A in hand, and play a heart towards the K on the dummy. As South has the A (good fortune!), if they fail to take it then we will make our K and therefore not lose any hearts, but if they do take their A then our K will be a trick for us to discard a loser on! Assuming South takes their A, and switches to a trump (the best defence), win in hand and now embark on a mini cross-ruff. Ruff a diamond in dummy, cash K and discard a loser from hand (either a club or a diamond) and ruff a heart to hand. Ruff another diamond with dummy’s last trump and then ruff a heart back to hand. You can now draw the trumps (finally) and your decision now depends on how greedy you are for the extra trick. Given all of the ruffing you have done in hand, you will have ran of out trumps by now, and the club suit has not yet been breached. We could take the club finesse but if this fails then North will have winners in the red suits, that could defeat our contract. So far, we have made 7 tricks from our trump suit (2 ruffs in the dummy and 5 trumps in hand), 1 trick in hearts, and 1 trick in diamonds. Therefore we have 9 tricks before tackling the club suit, and given that is the case I think we should play safe and just cash our ♣A for our all important tenth trick.

If the opponents had started with a trump lead at trick 1, then this would have meant we would have had to rely on the club finesse to make our contract. By leading a trump, then getting in with their A and leading another trump they would have cut dummy’s trumps from 3 to 1, which means we can only ruff 1 of our diamond losers in the dummy. Similary if we had drawn trumps ourselves in this hand then we would have surely suffered defeat as there is nowhere for our diamond losers to go.