West leads the ♥10. East plays the ♥2, presumably count. Plan the play.
Clearly there is nothing to the play if the diamonds come in for five tricks. What you have to do is consider a line of play that caters to East having four diamonds to the jack without giving up your overtrick if the diamonds come in for five tricks.
Start by winning the opening lead in your hand, unblock the ♣A K, cross to the ♥K, discard two spades on winning clubs, return to the ♦A and cash the ♦Q. If the diamonds are high, you have a claimer. If East has the dreaded four diamonds to
the jack, cash two hearts discarding spades (or a diamond and a spade) reducing to this mandatory three-card ending:
East must be down to two diamonds and a spade honor. If West had the ♠A K he would have doubled and cashed them, and if East started with both spades honors, he must be down to a spade honor. West must be down to all spades unless he started with five clubs or five hearts. If he did and his spade honor is the ace, you cannot make the contract. If his spade honor is the king, East should discard the ♠A on the fourth heart. If he didn’t, he is going to regret it as he is about to get endplayed. In any case, exit a spade. If West plays low, East will win and be forced to return a diamond into the K–10. If West jumps up with the ace, he will kill East’s king and you take the last two tricks with the high spade and the ♦K.
(1) Hearts and clubs.
West leads the ♣K. East follows with the 2, and you win with the ace. When you plunk down the ♠A, West discards the ♦5. Plan the play.
Since you are not going to be able to crossruff hearts and clubs (East only has one club and can overruff dummy with the ♠9), you must figure out something else. Something else cannot be drawing three rounds of trumps immediately as that will leave you a trick short: Three top spades, four spades by crossruffing, three diamonds, one club and heart add up to 12 tricks only.
What you have to do is pull off an “entry-shifting squeeze” on West, who has guards in both clubs and hearts! This means you must:
- Draw two rounds of trumps
- Cash all your side suit winners (♦A K Q discarding a club and a heart from dummy.
- Lead a third trump, removing the outstanding trump, being able to overtake if necessary. (Oh yes, both hands must have the same number of trumps when extracting that last trump).
- The hand with both threat suits (West in this case) must play second to the final trump and must be forced to make a self-destructive discard allowing you to either win the trick in your hand and set up your clubs or overtake in dummy and set up dummy’s hearts. It all depends upon which suit is discarded. Got it? Just nod.
First, the full deal (an open book after trick two):
Now let’s see how this works. After the ♣A, the ♠A K, and the ♦A K Q, the position will be this:
Now lead the ♠J. Notice that (1) you’ve drawn two rounds of trump before this trick; (2) you’ve cashed your side-suit winners; (3) you have the same number of trumps in each hand and can overtake the ♠J, if necessary; (4) West, the player with both threat suits, must play second to the trick and must discard. Ta-da.
If West discards a club, play low on the ♠J and set up your clubs with two ruffs. If West discards a heart, overtake the ♠J and set up the fourth heart with two ruffs. Piece of cake.