Hand of the Week
As the 2NT response promised 8-10 high-card points, you were always going to end up in a slam. It was only because of North’s failure to cuebid over 3♠ that you settled at the six level. West leads the ♥J to your bare ace. How do you plan to make 12 tricks?
After drawing trumps in three rounds, the trick is to get to dummy to discard any losers on the ♥K and ♥Q. If diamonds are 3-2, playing South’s top three diamonds would ensure you could reach dummy with the ♦9. However, suppose the full deal is:
The straightforward play in diamonds will see West take two tricks. As it turns out, when diamonds are 4-1, the best play is to cash the ♦A and then make a surprising play – the ♦J! On the above layout, when West wins the ♦Q, he is endplayed. A diamond will give you an entry to dummy, and so will a club or heart shift. No matter what West does, you will take 12 tricks. Of course, West may try to avoid the endplay by withholding his ♦Q. However, this will be to no avail. You will play the ♦K and another diamond to leave West on play with only hearts and clubs left, either of which will give you your 12th trick. If both defenders follow to the second round of diamonds you could then reach dummy with the ♦9 on the fourth round.