Spot Cards Speak
North deals. With your side silent, the auction progresses 1♥ by North, 1NT (not forcing) by South, 4♥ by North.
You lead the ♣J and see:
You are playing standard carding.
- ♣J, 3, 4, A.
- ♥K, 7, 2, 3
- ♥Q, ♠9, ♥5, ♥A
- ♠4, J, Q, 2
What do you play and why?
Do you remember the club spots played at Trick 1? If so, you realize that the only unseen clubs are the 9 and the 2. Where might they lie?
You can be sure that declarer owns the ♣9. After all, your partner would not have played the ♣4 at Trick 1 from a holding of either 942 (he would have played the 2) or 94 (he would have played the 9).
Who owns the ♣2? Well, if partner were dealt the 42 doubleton and thus declarer were dealt the A9 doubleton, then declarer might have tried to discard a spade on the third round of clubs before giving up the lead to the ♥A. Thus, all indications are that partner was dealt the ♣4 singleton and you must give him a ruff right now.
If you fail to give your partner a club ruff at Trick 5, declarer will arrange to finesse you out of your ♣T8 and pitch a losing diamond on dummy’s fourth club.
The spot cards spoke. Were you listening?
PS: If West were dealt ♣42 doubleton (so that declarer were dealt ♣A9 doubleton), a club return by you would deny declarer the ability to pitch a loser on the third round of clubs … assuming your partner has a third heart.