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Setting up a suit for discards

We are focussing on the need to delay drawing trumps, when there is an “overlapping winner” (or the potential for one) in dummy. Look for a suit in which there are more winners, than number of cards in your hand.

In (a), (b), and (c), there is the potential for an overlapping winner, and a discard for a loser:
(a)           (b)         (c)
KJ3        J103     AQ3
Q2         Q2         2

In (a) you can lead Q to force out A, promoting KJ. On the second of these, you have a discard.

In (b) you can force out AK, creating an extra winner in dummy for a discard.

In (c) you have a 50-50 chance of a discard. You can finesse the queen which, if successful, will allow you to throw a loser on A. However if the finesse of Q loses to K, then you have lost an unnecessary trick in the suit.

South Deals
E-W Vul
Q 10 8 7 5
K 6 5
Q 10 6
4 2
Q 10 3
A 9 5 3
Q J 9 6 3
W   E
J 9 8 7
K 8 4 2
10 8 7 5
K J 9 6 3 2
A 4 2
J 7
West North East South
Pass 2  Pass 3 
Pass 4  All pass  


What happened
Declaring 4 , South won  Q with  A and led a trump. East won  A and, knowing from his partner’s lead that declarer held  K, brightly switched to  7.

Winning  K, declarer led  6 to  J. West won  A and persisted with hearts, knocking out  A. Declarer led  7 to  10, but East could win  K and cash a third round heart winner. Down one.

What should have happened
Declarer has the potential for an overlapping winner in diamonds. However, because he has two top diamonds to force out first (and two heart stoppers), he cannot afford to lose a tempo by conceding to  A.

Winning  A, you as declarer lead  J at Trick Two (key play). The defence win and switch to hearts (best). Carefully win  A (preserving  K as a dummy entry for the promoted diamond winner), and lead  7 to  10. The defence win, but you can win their heart return in dummy with  K, and cash the promoted  Q discarding your heart loser from hand. Only then can you play trumps - 10 tricks and game made.

If you remember one thing...
Overlapping winners often involve losing the lead. Set them up a.s.a.p, or you lose a vital tempo.

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