We have all seen magicians who offer a deck of cards to a volunteer. The person takes a card, any card. At the end of the trick the magician will name that card. There are many variations on this theme.
At the bridge table, it may be a matter of deciding not which card to pick, but which suit to pick. Sometimes this happens in the bidding and sometimes in the play. Today's deal is an example of the latter.
South was in six spades. West led the club king. Declarer won with his ace and cashed his top trumps, learning that West began with queen-third. How should South have continued?
That South hand, with all those aces and kings and a good five-card suit, was easily worth a two-no-trump opening. (The Kaplan-Rubens method rates that hand at 21.35 points.) North used Stayman, then bid what he hoped his partner could make.
With an unavoidable trump loser, declarer had to discard both of his low clubs before West could ruff in and collect the club queen.
The original declarer immediately tried to take his three diamond winners. However, West ruffed the last and cashed his club winner. Was South unlucky, or did he misplay?
Suppose West does not ruff the third diamond. What does declarer do then?
Right, he plays on hearts, hoping West has at least three. So it is correct to play that suit first, just in case West has four or more hearts. Then South sluffs one club and throws the other on the third diamond. West ruffs in just too late to defeat the slam.