Ambition Rewarded?

Dlr: North ♠ Q J 9 2
Vul: E-W Q 7
A 5
♣ K 9 8 7 3
♠ A K 10 8 6 4
A 8 5
K Q 9 6
♣ —
 West North East South 1♣ 1♥ 1♠ Pass 2♠ Pass 2NT Pass 4♠ Pass 5♣ Pass 5♦ Pass 7♠ All Pass

Your 2NT bid was a forcing inquiry. Partner’s 4♠ showed four-card support. West starts with the ♠7. What is your plan for getting to 13 tricks?

Solution

After West’s lead, declarer examined dummy and could count 10 top tricks. He saw that any plan he made would likely depend on whether trumps were 2-1 or 3-0. So he played the ♠Q from dummy and was pleased to see that East followed. This made attempting to establish a trick in clubs more attractive than trying to cash three diamonds and ruff three red cards in dummy.

Declarer had only four more entries to establish and enjoy a club winner when the suit was 4-4, so he ruffed a club at trick two. A low trump to dummy’s jack provided a second entry to ruff another club. A diamond to the ace was followed by a third club ruff. Declarer then cashed the K and Q, discarding a heart from dummy. He was pleased to see that East had started with two trumps and two diamonds because that meant that the ruffing-red-cards plan would have failed, and that East’s likely original shape was 2=5=2=4.

Declarer ruffed his fourth diamond in the dummy, then ruffed a fourth club, felling the remaining clubs. Declarer cashed the A and ruffed a heart in dummy.

The king of clubs was his 13th trick. Declarer made six trumps, two ruffs in dummy, a heart, three diamonds and a club. The full deal:

 Dlr: North ♠ Q J 9 2 Vul: E-W ♥ Q 7 ♦ A 5 ♣ K 9 8 7 3 ♠ 7 ♠ 5 3 ♥ 6 4 2 ♥ K J 10 9 3 ♦ J 10 7 4 3 ♦ 8 2 ♣ J 10 5 4 ♣ A Q 6 2 ♠ A K 10 8 6 4 ♥ A 8 5 ♦ K Q 9 6 ♣ —