Pragmatism is often required to locate the best line of play, plus an understanding that a pre-requisite of successful bridge is occasionally looking very foolish.

Dealer: North
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4♣ was generally led against 4H around the room. Declarer counts nine tricks. If West has led from K♣, playing low from dummy would allow South’s Q♣ to score the tenth trick. However, when East produced K♣, that appeared to be the end of two club tricks.

East usually switched to 6♦ and three rounds of the suit were played before declarer trumped in hand. When South now correctly played off five rounds of trumps, it is easy for East to retain his three spades, so declarer failed.

Declarer can provide a key additional chance if, at trick 1, he discards Q♣ under East’s K♣! West’s low club lead suggests an honour, marking West with J♣. Now, upon gaining the lead, declarer can pull trumps and lead 7♣. When West follows low, declarer can insert 10♣ from dummy. This runs the risk of going two down but, as it is, holds the trick and furnishes declarer with A♣ for a spade discard from hand.

East can scupper even this plan if he wins K♣ and immediately returns 8♣, but this seems an odd play since dummy now contains ♣A10 and careful analysis of the intermediate values would be required to smoke it out.

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