Thanks for the Hints

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

(1) 2NT = At least 5-5 in the minors
(2) 3 = Limit raise or better in spades

West entered the auction with an Unusual 2NT, thereby giving away too much information about his hand. North cuebid 3, the higher suit, to promise a limit raise or better in spades. South showed extras with control bids of 3 and 4. North concluded the auction in 6♠ after asking for key cards with 4NT.

Against your slam, West starts with the ♣Q. What is your plan for bringing this contract home?

Solution

After winning the opening lead in dummy, declarer counted the usual 11 winners. The saving grace was that he knew that West would not enjoy the run of the major suits. After winning the first trick with the ♣A, declarer drew trumps in four rounds, throwing a low diamond from dummy. West discarded two diamonds and a club. When declarer played a fifth trump, West threw a club, reducing to two hearts, three diamonds and two clubs. Declarer cashed the A and Q, revealing that West began with 1=2=5=5 shape and was left with 3=2 in the minors.

A heart to dummy’s king drew a third club discard from West. Declarer reacted to this by cashing dummy’s ♣K, reducing West to three diamonds only. Declarer called for dummy’s J and ran it to West’s queen. Declarer made the last two tricks on the forced diamond return for his contract: he made eight tricks in the majors and four in the minors.

West could not have done better by discarding a diamond on the K. Declarer would simply play the A and another diamond. West would win a diamond trick but dummy would take the last two tricks with the ♣K and the good J. The full deal:

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