Fallback Plan

Dlr: South ♠ A K J 4 2
Vul: E-W A 7 2
K J
♣ Q 4 2
♠ 10 6 3
Q 8 5 3
A Q 4 3
♣ A K

Z

West North East South
1NT
Pass 2 Pass 2♠
Pass 5NT Pass 6♠
All Pass

After you open 1NT, partner transfers to spades and asks you to pick a slam (6♠ or 6NT). You decided on spades because you might need to ruff a club in hand. West leads the ♣J. How will you get to 12 tricks?

Solution

After West’s lead of the ♣J, declarer counted 12 tricks if the spades were no worse than 4-1. There would be four in spades, one in hearts, four in diamonds and three in clubs.
With that in mind, declarer played low from dummy and took the trick with the ♣K. His next move was to lead the ♠3 to dummy’s king. When East discarded a club, declarer was not able to avoid saying, “Really?” After getting confirmation that trumps were indeed 5-0, declarer paused to consider the situation.
The only hope seemed to be that West started with 5=1=4=3 shape. Declarer therefore led a low club to his ace then crossed back to dummy with the K and threw one of his hearts on the ♣Q. Next, he cashed the A, led the J and overtook it with his queen.
After declarer threw a heart on the A, the moment of truth had arrived. Declarer led his last diamond. West’s 10 was a beautiful sight, and declarer ruffed it with the ♠2.
Declarer had taken nine tricks and West had only trumps left. So, when declarer led the 7 to East’s king, West had to ruff and lead away from the queen of trumps. This gave declarer the last three tricks and his contract. The full deal:

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