This deal was played in the 2015 Blue Ribbon Pairs in Denver. At unfavorable vulnerability, South held:
♠ A Q 5 ♥ J 10 8 5 3 ♦ Q 9 ♣ 10 6 2
His partner opened 1NT and East overcalled 3♣.
South bid 3♥ and West bid 3♠. North control-bid 4♣ and South signed off in 4♥. How would you play with a club lead?
If you lay down the ♥A, West (yes West!) shows out.
With East having all the clubs (and a natural heart trick), prospects look bleak. Likely the spades are wrong.
After the shock of the 3–0 heart break, let’s say you play a low diamond from dummy. East takes the king – that’s good – and cashes a high club, his partner following suit, completing a high-low. East then plays the ♠2, and here’s your position:
You’ve lost two tricks and have to lose the ♥Q. One of your low spades can go on the ♦A, so it seems you have to finesse your ♠Q to make the contract. Based on the bidding and play, the finesse is sure to lose. But if RHO has a singleton spade, you could be in business. Watch.
You win the ♠A and cash the ♦Q. Ruff a club in dummy – LHO discards – and cash the ♦A to throw a spade. (RHO follows to the diamond.) Now, play the ♥K and another heart to endplay East. He has only clubs left, and on his club play, you throw your ♠Q and ruff in dummy. Here is the Real Deal:
With all four hands in view, follow the play and watch how South lost no spade tricks! The first two tricks were taken by dummy’s ♣A and ♥A. Declarer was careful not to play a second high heart. If he had done so, East would have cashed his ♥Q when in, thwarting the endplay. Declarer’s low diamond was taken by East’s ♦K. East cashed a high club and played his spade. Declarer won the ace, cashed the ♦Q, ruffed a club and discarded a spade on the ♦A. The ♥K and a heart put East on play for a ruff and sluff. Declarer lost only one club, one diamond and the ♥Q for a beautiful plus 620.