The Gold Coast Congress provides players with daily Bulletins which include daily program information, commentary on the more challenging hands played, and some challenge quiz hands. This hand was provided by expert Ron Klinger.
West North East South
Pass 2H (weak)
3C 3H 4C 4H
After the following bidding, your partner, West, leads the CA with dummy following with the C2, and the CT from declarer. West then switches to the S8, with the S2 from dummy, your SA and the SJ from declarer. What do you do now?
At the table, East reverted to clubs, hoping West had started with five clubs only. South ruffed, knocked out the HA and had ten tricks. East-West made their three aces, but no more.
At trick 3, you should return a spade. When West plays the S5, you know West began with a doubleton spade. On coming in with the HA, you can give West a spade ruff. The S8 could be a singleton (possible but not likely) or top from a doubleton or part of SQT8.
South's SJ could not be a singleton. That would mean West had led S8 from SQT85, which would not be normal carding. From that holding West would have led the S5 or possibly the SQ.
When you return a spade at trick 3, and West shows a doubleton, the rest is easy. If it transpires that West began with SQT8, the spade return does no harm. You can still play a second club trick when in with the HA after the spade position has been clarified.