Some holdups come in standard situations, and a bell goes off warning declarer that something special is up.
Sometimes there is no bell, and if declarer fails to fall back on the first rule of dummy play, he will fail. Do you know that rule?
The first rule of dummy play is to not take a trick until you are sure what you will do next. Here’s an example:
West’s 2♠ was a weak jump overcall. North’s cuebid of 3♠ showed a game-forcing club raise. North had doubts about 3NT, but he knew that South was aware of the spade danger and was willing to play in 3NT. West led the ♠8, a fourth-best lead. East played the queen.
Here are some questions.
1. What high cards does West have in spades?
2. How many spades does West have?
3. What other high cards might West have for his vulnerable bid?
4. What is South’s correct line of play?
If you take a practical view, you should consider that East will have one of the kings and if you let him in, he will return a spade for down one.
Of course, if you win the first trick and can divine which king West has, making 3NT will be easy. There is a way to obviate having to do any guessing. Given the theme of this article, the right play is clear.
Let East have his ♠Q. He will return a spade and regardless of what West does, you will have nine tricks. Here is the complete deal:
As long as you can count on East not having three spades, it is okay to lose the first and second and even the third spade because it will stop West from later winning the fourth, fifth, and sixth spades.