Hand of the Week

Dlr: South ♠ A 10 9
Vul: N-S 6 5 4 2
A K Q J
♣ A 2
♠ K Q 6 4 3
A 9 7
8 5 4
♣ K 3
West North East South
1♠
2♠(1) 3(2) Pass 3♠
Pass 4♣ Pass 4
Pass 4NT Pass 5♠
Pass 6♠ All Pass

(1) 2♠ = at least 5-5 in hearts and a minor
(2) 3= limit raise or better in spades
Against your ambitious slam, West leads the K. How will you come to 12 tricks on this deal?

Solution

On examining dummy at trick one, declarer counted 12 tricks as long as he could play the trumps without the loss of a trick. As a result, declarer took the first trick with A and led a low trump to dummy’s ace, thankful that West had followed. Declarer then led the ♠10 from dummy. East followed with a low card and declarer had to decide whether to run it or play trumps from the top.

The decision was not close. Declarer placed West with at least 10 cards in hearts and a minor, most likely clubs. As the odds of West having one trump and two diamonds were much greater than two trumps and one diamond, declarer played a low trump from hand at trick three. An additional factor was that West might have led a singleton diamond, had he held one. Declarer
was greatly relieved when West discarded a heart. As a result, declarer claimed 12 tricks: five trumps, a heart, four diamonds and two clubs. The full deal:

Dlr: South ♠ A 10 9
Vul: N-S 6 5 4 2
A K Q J
♣ A 2
♠ 7 ♠ J 8 5 2
K Q J 10 8 3
9 3 10 7 6 2
♣ Q J 10 9 5 ♣ 8 7 6 4
♠ K Q 6 4 3
A 9 7
8 5 4
♣ K 3