Hand of the Week
This deal was first played more than 70 years ago. The auction is the one that occurred at the table, where the legendary Milton Work (of 4-3-2-1 point count fame) was sitting West.
Work led the ♠K, from ♠A K, and the original declarer saw that to make 12 tricks he needed the diamond finesse and, apparently, the club finesse too – but how likely is the to succeed?
So, what is your plan to make 12 tricks?
The original declarer reasoned that Work had everything that mattered. So he ruffed high and led the ♥8 to dummy’s jack and ruffed another spade with ♥K. Then came the ♥3 to ♥6 and a third spade ruff. Next he took the diamond finesse and ruffed dummy’s last spade.
Finally he played the ♦A and another diamond, expecting that Work would have to win this and then lead into his ♣A Q. Work was, however, a fine player and demonstrated it on this deal by playing the ♦J on the first round of diamonds and ♦K on the second round. So East won the third round of diamonds and put a club through the A-Q for down one.
Work was enormously proud of this defense, as he should have been, and used it in his lectures on advanced play to demonstrate the value of unblocking honors to avoid an endplay.
You, however, are made of sterner stuff and reasonably place West with the two minor-suit kings for his combination of venturing to the five level on his own and doubling 6♥. Given that assumption, the simplest line to make 12 tricks is to discard a diamond at trick one. Then, after ruffing the next spade, you cross to dummy’s ♥J and ruff a third spade, making 100% certain that West alone guards the spades. After taking the diamond finesse, you then run the rest of the hearts, discarding a club and ♦7 from dummy. These cards will remain to be played:
Now a diamond to the ace forces West to throw a club and, backing your judgment, you will make your 12 trick by playing a club to the ace! Bravo!