Good Advice

Dlr: South ♠ 9 6 3 2
Vul: None A 8 6
A K 7 6
♣ A 6
♠ A K Q J
9 7
4
♣ Q J 9 5 4 2
West North East South
1♣
3 Dbl Pass 4♠
Pass 4NT Pass 5♠
Pass 6♠ All Pass

Against your aggressive slam, West leads the ♣3. What is your plan for success on this deal?

Solution

Before playing to trick one, declarer considered Andrew Robson’s incisive Bols tip: “When a pre-emptive bidder leads a plain suit against a trump contract, play for the lead to be a singleton, but when he leads from a broken holding in his own suit, play him for a singleton trump.”

So declarer rose with dummy’s ace at trick one, then drew three rounds of trumps, noting that West held three of them – giving further weight to the supposition that the lead was a singleton.

Declarer saw that he could not afford to play the ♣Q from hand next. If he did so, East could let the queen hold or win it with the king and exit with the Q. Either way, the effect would be the same: he would no longer have the entries to bring in the club suit and he would finish with only nine tricks.

Instead, he crossed to dummy by playing his diamond to dummy’s ace to lead the ♣6 towards his hand. East followed with the ♣8 and declarer covered this with his 9. When this won, declarer continued with the ♣Q, throwing a low diamond from dummy. East took his ♣K and exited with the Q. Declarer won this in dummy with the ace and then cashed the K to shed his heart loser.

After ruffing a heart back to hand and cashing the ♣J, declarer claimed the two remaining tricks. Declarer made four spade tricks, five club tricks plus two aces and a king in the red suits to make the contract. The full deal:

Dlr: South ♠ 9 6 3 2
Vul: None A 8 6
A K 7 6
♣ A 6
♠ 10 8 4 ♠ 7 5
K J 10 5 4 3 2 Q
10 2 Q J 9 8 5 3
♣ 3 ♣ K 10 8 7
♠ A K Q J
9 7
4
♣ Q J 9 5 4 2