In which some people who play bridge blog about it.
posted by Paul @ 1:22 PM
This seems fairly cut and dried to me on a quick look. Take the ace and king of clubs, lead the eight of spades hoping against hope for an A-K fallout. Either way, you could only conceivably lose two spades and a heart on this. (I'd force the heart ace with the jack from hand or 8 from dummy.) Don't see how you could lose the contract, frankly.
Not that easy. When you lead the 8 of spades, West will win that trick, win another spade, win another club, and the heart ace is still out.
Whoops--yeah, you're right. Hadn't remembered the club jack. Maybe going right to spades once the first trick is taken is the right tack here. Leaves some mystery as to the club king's whereabouts from West's p.o.v. (You could also start in on hearts or diamonds after the first trick, but the point is the same.) Another possibility might be to give West the first trick for similar purposes. Those plays don't minimize the jack's looming placement; they're more cod-psychological, hoping to distract West from his obvious play(s). There is probably a better strategy here, though; I'm just not seeing it.
You mentioned you wanted to work on your strategic discard skills, so this is a discard puzzle.I'll post my solution in a bit.
My solution:After winning the first trick, I'd flush out the heart ace right away, to enable myself to throw a losing club on a winning heart. I'd lead the heart jack to the 8, then follow with the 2 to the king if if the ace didn't come out on the first round. East would win either the first or second heart trick and lead probably a club. I'd win that trick, transfer to dummy with a diamond, and lead the heart queen, discarding the 2 of clubs from my hand. After that, South is void in clubs so I don't have to worry about losing a club trick: just the two spades and the one heart, and I make my 4S contract.
I can't see another way to win it: without that timely discard you're doomed to lose a club trick regardless. Someone's got to lead clubs at some point and when they do, that 2 loses. Your only hope then would be for East to hold up her heart ace till the third round, when it would be trumped, but there's no reason she would do so.
yeah, that's very good. I'm at work and wasn't looking very hard, obv.