You don’t believe in leaving any prisoners. In any case, the opening lead is the ♠6, East discarding a discouraging club. Plan the play.
Technically, the correct line is to win the ♠A and play the ♦A Q 10 at tricks two, three and four. This line works whenever diamonds break
3–3 or the ♦J or ♦9 appear under the ♦A Q. This line logs in at almost 55%. You score five diamonds, three spades (marked finesse) plus the ♥A. Alternative lines require a defensive error(s) if the hearts are 4–3 or in some cases when they are 5–2.
For example, you could win the opening lead cheaply in dummy and lead the ♣10. If the opponents win and switch to a diamond, you can lead a second club. If you are allowed to win this trick, you are home. You can play the ♦A Q and a diamond, scoring five diamonds, two spades, a heart and a club. However, if you lose a second club and a heart comesback, your chances of making this contract are slim. The same applies if you win the ♠A and lead a club. If they shift to a heart early before the ♦K has been played, you are in the twilight zone — you could go down when diamonds are 3–3!
Of course, it helps to know the skill level of your opponents on deals like this. When playing against strong opponents, the ♠A followed by the ♦A is best.
Thanks to Jeff Lehman of Newton MA for this one.
West leads the ♥Q (standard). East plays the ♥7. West has one spade. Plan the play.
As West is a heavy favorite to hold the ♣K for his first-seat 2♥ bid at unfavorable vulnerability (the ♥Q denied the king), strip the hand before attacking the club suit.
After drawing trumps and ruffing a heart (leaving a higher trump in dummy), play four rounds of diamonds, discarding a club, reducing to this position:
Once you get a count on diamonds, you have a count on the entire hand. If West started with four diamonds, play West for ♣K x: Play the ♣A and a club to the queen. Even if West
has the expected K–x, he has to give you a ruff and a sluff upon winning the trick. And if East has the ♣K, the ♣Q will win the trick. If West started with three diamonds, he is down to three clubs and a heart. You have to hope that those three clubs are the K–J–10, and duck a club into West. If West started with the K–J–9, East can defeat the slam by inserting the ♣10.
The most interesting ending occurs when West started with two diamonds and four clubs. Unless there is a defensive error (or East has ♣J 10 doubleton, in which case you can play the ♣A and a club, ducking the second round), you need to find West with the ♣K J 10 x. Assuming K–J–10–x, West has to reduce to three clubs and a heart or four clubs. If West discards a low club, reducing to the K–J–10, duck a club into West.
If West discards the ♣10 (or ♣J), reducing to K–J–x, lead a low club from dummy and cover whatever East plays. If East plays the 9 from 9–x, cover with the queen. West, after
winning the king, will have to lead a club from the J–x (or give you a ruff and a sluff) allowing the ♣8 to take the contract-fulfilling trick. If East plays low, insert the ♣8, endplaying West after he wins the ♣J.
If West discards a heart, reducing to the ♣K J 10 x, while East remains with ♣9 x, play your last spade, forcing a club discard from West. If West discards a low club, duck a club into West’s K–J–10. If West discards a club honor, lead a low club and cover whatever club East plays. Don’t look now, but you have just executed a one-suited squeeze.
Thanks to Tim Bourke of Australia for this one.