Tic..tac..change ur tack

Lets start with a defensive decision. At none vul you hear your RHO open a precision club , you pass and auction develops :

W
West
N
North
E
East
S
South
Pass
Pass
11
Pass
12
2
2
3
Dbl3
Pass
3NT
All Pass
 
 
 
(1) 16+
(2) 0-8 hcp
(3) Responsive

Partner did not preempt initially, but came in with 2 later. Make of it what you will – 5 carder suit? Poor 6? Imperfect shape? You lead your partner’s suit and see this dummy:

 
N
North
10
73
QJ987
K9742
W
West
K874
J95
532
AQ3
5

 Partner contributes  K to trick one and declarer wins the Ace. Now declarer tables  T.

Win or duck? 

The play to trick one marks declarer with  Q. So partner probably didn’t open weak 2 because his suit was poor. He wouldn’t bid 2  with Kxxxx sitting under the strong club opener. So we can safely presume that partner has 6 hearts and declarer AQ stiff.

This means we can win this trick and clear partner’s suit. But will this help? For this defence to work, partner must have a side Ace, and declarer must not have 9 tricks without that suit. If partner has  A, winning is right. Declarer can’t get more than 4  , 2 , 1 . 

What if he doesn’t? Is there any lie where declarer needs just one club trick? Say for example he switches his attack to spades? Expecting to make 4/5  2  1  1/2  ? For him to do that, declarer needs the  Ace..

There is another consideration. Partner could hold  J singleton. In that case, going up Ace sells the suit.

You decide on balance to duck this trick, dummy plays small, and declarer’s Ten holds, partner following with 5.  You play udca, so this is consistent with him holding one or 2 cards. Declarer continues with  J. What now?

I have not found any good argument either way so far. There is a strong case for not playing the Ace, and cutting off clubs as source of tricks. The case for winning is quite strong too.

If you think of a good reason either way, please do share in the comments.

All I can say is one of our strong players elected to play the Queen, and this gave me some interesting play options.

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