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In a no-trump contract, deciding which suit to attack first will depend on numerous considerations. Can you work out the best line for declarer here?

Dealer: South Game All
NorthEastSouthWest
--1DNB
1SNB2NTNB
3HNB3NT

South’s aversion to bidding or supporting hearts got him into a makeable game contract, but he did not make it. West led 7♣; South won with 10♣. He led 3♠ to dummy’s K♠ and East’s A♠. 6♣ was returned, opening up the club suit so that, when West took A♥, he had sufficient club winners to defeat the contract.

Declarer has two clubs and four diamond tricks; he needs three tricks from spades and/or hearts. Which suit should he play first? At trick 2, he should lead low to dummy’s K♦ and then play a heart to his K♥. This probably loses, but West cannot lead another club without providing an extra trick and South will still have time to set up spade tricks.

The key is that if East holds A♥, if he rises with it to return a club, this sets up three heart tricks for South. If he ducks, South takes his heart trick and then attacks spades. Crucially, declarer must not lead a heart from hand, because if East held four hearts to A♥, he would take an honour and return a club, leaving South with only two heart tricks. Attacking spades only works if West holds A♠ or the suit splits 3-3.

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