A Q 10 7
A Q 5 4
A K J 9
9 8 7 3
Q 7 6 5 4 2
After a hectic auction, West leads the four of diamonds against their 6S contract. You win the ace and declarer drops the ten. What do you do now? Are you sure or are you guessing?
The correct play is clear. It is not a guess.
West is ruffing clubs and you should know it. How do you know? You know because of partner's lead. West opened the bidding with 4D. Whatever else West has, he has a fistful of diamonds. What, therefore, is the four of diamonds?
Is it fourth best? Can't be. If it were fourth best, the rule of eleven tells you there would be seven diamonds higher than the four in the other three hands. You are looking at the ace and dummy has the eight. That means declarer has five diamonds higher than the four.
The four of diamonds is a suit preference signal. You come to this conclusion because it can't be accounted for any other way. All reasonable interpretations are impossible. By default, the only thing left is suit preference.
You might for a moment think you have a club trick coming anyway if partner is really void, but there is a chance, even a likelihood, that South will be able to get rid of that club loser on dummyÕs hearts.
Return a club and spare partner from further anguish.
Give West credit for a good lead. If West had led a reflex king of diamonds, East might or might not do the right thing, but he would have had to think twice about it. East would have to overtake the king, and then talk himself into leading a club. WestÕs thoughtful lead did two things. It forced East to take the ace and it woke East up to the fact that something was going on. If West was afraid that leading the four might give declarer a free trick (if East had no ace OR ten) West could lead the jack of diamonds. It should wake East up, but it might not. The four is a loud card and should succeed.