Hand of the Week
(1) Checkback for spade support.
How will do you plan to make 13 tricks after West leads the ♣K?
You have 12 top tricks and the best plan for a 13th is by playing to set up a long heart. As the only way to reach any established long card in hearts is with a trump, you will need the trumps to break no worse than 3-1. How will you go about setting up the hearts, though? On this layout, you need to be careful:
After winning the club lead with dummy’s ace, you should cash the ♦K and ♦Q, followed by the ♥A. You then cross to dummy with a trump and play the♦A, throwing the ♥6 from hand. Now you can afford ruff a heart in your hand with a low trump. You return to dummy with a second round of trumps and lead another low heart, ruffing it with the ace to circumvent any potential overruff. Next you play another trump to dummy, drawing West’s remaining trump in the process. All that remains to do is to you cash the ♥K and ♥10, discarding your losing clubs and leaving you with a trump to take care of dummy’s ♣J. You make six trumps, three hearts, three diamonds and a club.
If you do not discard a heart on the diamond ace, you will end up promoting a trump trick for West. In fact, the recommended line has close to an 11% advantage over playing on hearts without discarding a heart on the ♦A.