Solving a double-dummy mini-puzzle, like the one below, is not only fun. It also helps players to gain an insight in playing suit combinations.
Construct the layout with the cards face up on the table. That will make it easier to study all possibilities.
| ||♠||—|| |
| ||♥||A 3 2|
|♥||K 6 5 4||♥||10 9|
| ||♠||—|| |
|♥||Q J 8 7|
Hearts are trumps. South is on lead. How can he make four out of the last five tricks?
South has an inescapable diamond loser and it seems he cannot avoid losing the ♥K as well. But things aren't always what they seem: the ♥K will not take a trick (neither any of West's other trumps). South plays the ♥Q, which West must duck (covering would solve South's problems). South continues with the ♥J and again West must duck. East's ♥10 and ♥9 have now been eliminated.
Next South surrenders the lead by playing the ♦10. Now see what happens: West's guarded ♥K falls victim to dummy's bare ♥A. East has to win with the ♦A (♦K) and returns either the ♦K (♦A) or the ♠A — it makes no difference what he chooses.
South ruffs with the ♥7 and West's 'certain' trump trick vanishes into thin air. If West underruffs, dummy's ♣2 disappears, dummy's ♥A winning the last trick. If West overruffs the ♥7, dummy overruffs with the ♥A, South's ♥8 winning the last trick.
This very rare technique is known as a smother play. Most bridge players will never in their entire life execute one — or even note an opportunity for it. Still it's fun to see such a phenomenon occur.