Everyone made 3NT exactly on this week’s deal, except for one player who made an overtrick. How did he do it?

Dealer: North
N/S Game


West led 5♠. There are nine top tricks. The hearts might split 3-3, but our featured declarer took a different view. He knew that East held only a queen-high spade suit, so he felt that there was a chance of forcing him to lead away from that queen by throwing him in at the right moment. 

Declarer played low from dummy at trick 1, East put in 8♠, and K♠ won. South then led 3♦, West followed low and declarer ducked in dummy. East won J♦ and led K♥. This declarer also ducked. By doing so, he was reducing East only to the cards that he had to guard. East continued with Q♥, won with A♥ in dummy.

Now, declarer set about stripping East of a safe exit. He cashed A♦ and came to hand with K♣, before laying down K♦ and noting that East threw a spade. Now, South played out three further rounds of clubs. East discarded another spade and, on the last club, considered pitching J♥ (this would not have helped).

Instead, he threw 7♥, leaving him with ♠Q10 and J♥. Knowing what East held, declarer could now force East to win J♥ and, when 10♠ was led, run it to dummy’s J♠ for his tenth trick.

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