Vulnerable vs. not, N-S are in a 4S contract (South 1NT, North 4H, South 4S, all other bids passed). North's bid was a "transfer."
QJ9832 JT4 A64 5 AKT7 A96 T72 AJ9
Frank Stewart reasonably points out that when West lead the K of clubs (presumably from KQT), South erred in taking A on the first trick. He then ruffed a club on the second trick, which I consider the real mistake.
My theory is that South can still save himself by returning the J of clubs to West's Queen on the second trick (pitching a diamond), win West's diamond return in dummy, go to his hand with a trump, and lead the 9 of clubs to West's T, pitching another diamond. When South regains the lead, he can ruff a diamond (high) in dummy, draw the last trump in hand, and ruff out the last diamond in dummy. In the remaining worst case scenario, South then finesses the Jack of hears "around" East and "into" West. (If East covers with an honor, South captures it with the ace and has reduced his heart losers to one). If West wins, he then has to lead a club for a ruff-sluff or away from a heart honor.
My understanding is as follows:
1) The operative strategy is "elimination."
2) South needs to keep East off lead to prevent him from leading a heart before the elimination is completed.
3) The way to achieve 2) is to lose club tricks to West, rather than diamond tricks to East.
4) The way to achieve 3) is to dump dummy's diamond losers on South's club losers, so that South's diamond losers can be ruffed rather than conceded (loser on loser play).
5) Switch the club 5 and 9 between dummy and closed hand, and South needs to lose the first trick by playing the 5, because otherwise, there is no guarantee that East won't win the lowest club.
- Am I correct in saying the first trick "mistake" was still correctable on the second trick in this instance?
- Have I analyzed the hand correctly from a strategic point of view?