Hand of the Week
After North gave a simple raise of his suit, you signalled your slam ambitions by making a splinter bid in clubs. When North cuebid in hearts, you were happy to inquire for key cards. On finding two, you bid the small slam in spades. West begins with the ♣A and ♣K. How do you plan the play?
Whenever diamonds are 3-2, you will have 12 tricks: six trumps, two hearts and four diamonds.
The question is what to do when diamonds are 4-1. Suppose the full deal is:
All you need to make the contract is for West to have the ♣Q!
You ruff the lead second club, draw the trumps and cash the ♦A and ♦K. East guards the diamonds, so you cash the queen and then settle down to cashing the remaining two trumps, discarding the♦9 on the first of these. This will force West to come down to three hearts. When you play your last trump, West can see the ♣J in dummy, so he will keep two hearts and the ♣Q. Only then do you call for dummy’s ♣J.
What can East do? If he throws the ♦J, your 3 will be high. On the other hand, discarding a heart is no better, for then he will have only two hearts left. You will then cash the ♥K and ♥A and find that dummy’s ♥8 is high.
What happens if West has four diamonds? The next move is to play the two remaining trumps, discarding a diamond and a heart from table. The ♥K and ♥A will reduce everyone to two cards. This means that either the ♣J will be high or the diamonds will run. Either way, you will make 12 tricks.