Phillip Alder
Phillip Alder

Source: ACBL: Phillip Alder is a columnist for The New York Times and a syndicated columnist for 22 years with United Feature Syndicate. His column appears in over 200 papers worldwide. He has also helped to produce the Daily Bulletins at various WBF Championships and is a member of the WBF Youth Committee. Alder is the Associate Editor of The Bridge World magazine.”

IMPs Dealer South. E/W Vul

6 5
K 8
Q 7 3
A K J 5 4
J 10 8
A 4 3
A 10 9 8 6 4
2
West North East South
1
Pass 2 Pass 2NT
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: 2

The first trick goes 2, three, ace, five

How do you continue?

Clearly, partner has led a singleton at trick one. So, it is tempting to give him an immediate ruff. Along with the A, that’s three tricks for the defense. But where is the number four?

Provably on the next deal!

However, you can see a fourth trick: a club ruff. At trick two, switch to your singleton club. Declarer will win in the dummy and call for a low heart, but your zoom in with the ace and lead the 4, your lowest card as a suit-preference signal for clubs. Your partner will ruff and give you a club ruff in return.

Always consider your target: The number of trick you need to defeat the contract.

The complete deal:

6 5
K 8
Q 7 3
A K J 5 4
Q 9 7 4 3
9 5
2
Q 10 8 6 3
J 10 8
A 4 3
A 10 9 8 6 4
2
A K 2
Q J 10 7 6
K J 5
9 7

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