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When partner has opened at the three level - showing less than opening points and a good seven card suit, you should discount your queens and jacks outside his suit. You should expect to make a minimum of ten tricks (with his suit as trumps) if you have 12+ such “useful points” (UP’s), eleven tricks with 15+ UP’s and twelve tricks with 18+ UP’s.
North discounted his ♣ Q but still had 12 UP’s - enough to have a go for a ten trick contract. How should declarer plan the play in 4 ♥ on West’s opening lead of ♠ K?
He could count nine easy tricks - seven trumps tricks, ♠ A and ♠ A. Can you spot the risk-free route to a tenth trick?
It will come from trumping his third ♦ in dummy. Accordingly he must delay drawing trumps. He wins ♠ A and immediately plays ♦ A and ♦ 4. East wins ♦ K and finds the best return of ♥ 2.
Declarer plays ♥ 9, winning the trick, and now leads ♦ 8, trumping it with ♥ A (this is his crucial extra trick). He trumps ♠ 3, draws the two outstanding trumps and loses two ♣ tricks at the end. 4 ♥ bid and made.
ANDREW’S TIP: Discount queens and jacks outside trumps when responding to a preempt.