#5 North South Vulnerable

North  East   South  West
1         Pass    1        Pass
3♠         Pass    4        Pass
4NT     Pass     5        Pass
6        AP

North (Dummy)
♠ 9
A K Q
K Q 10 9 8
♣ A K 4 2

West                                                East
A                                                    ♠ K 8 3 2
                                                       ♥ J 8 2
                                                        ♦ J 6 2
♣                                                        ♣ Q J 7

South (Declarer)



♣ 

West leads the ♠A.   What is East’s plan?

This is an “uppercut” hand.
 
West leads the ♠A which denies the ♠K verses the five-level or higher.  Generally, when shortness (singleton or void) comes down in dummy, the card played by third hand is suit preference.  This is an exception hand. 
 
When there is shortness in dummy which holds only honors in the trumps suit (uppercut potential), then third hand’s signal returns to the standard encouraging and discouraging signal.  East, holding the J82, should visualize a trump trick if West continues spades and North must trump with the Q.  East plays the ♠ 8 at trick one to encourage West to continue leading spades!  Declarer has no choice but to trump the second spade (or go down at trick two) and cash the AK hoping that the J falls.         

Take a look at the entire hand:

North (Dummy)
♠ 9
A K Q
K Q 10 9 8
♣ A K 4 2

West                                                East
♠ A 7 6 5 4                                       ♠ K 8 3 2
——                                               ♥ J 8 2
5 4 3                                              ♦ J 6 2
♣ 10 9 8 6 5                                     ♣ Q J 7

 South (Declarer)
 ♠ Q J 10
 ♥ 10 9 7 6 5 4 3
 ♦ A 7
 ♣ 3              

Let me hear your comments!     

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