Hand of the Week
After this quantitative auction, how do you plan to take 12 tricks after West leads the ♦10?
There is nothing particularly difficult about this deal but it requires good technique to extract the most from the available cards. You have 11 top tricks and excellent chances of creating a 12th from the heart suit. The best play is to win the diamond lead with dummy’s jack, cross to the ♥A and lead a second heart towards dummy.
If a heart honor had fallen on the first round, you would easily establish an extra heart trick. If the hearts are 3-2, the same is true. Also, if East began with four hearts to the Q-J, you can take a marked finesse on the third round of the suit.
It is only when West holds four hearts to the Q-J that the contract is in jeopardy. With the cards lying as in the diagram, West will rise with the ♥J and East will show out. West then exits with a spade, which you win with the ace. What can you do now?
You can still make the contract if West also holds the ♣. You must cash the ♣A, to make dummy’s ♣Q an unfettered threat card. Next you take your diamond winners, discarding a heart and a club from dummy. Finally you cash the remaining spade winners in dummy. On the last of these, West has to find one more discard from the ♥Q 6 in hearts and the ♣K. If he throws the latter, dummy’s ♣Q will be high. If he throws a heart, a heart to the king will establish your ♥9 as the 12th trick.