Hand of the Week
After North’s splinter bid in spades, you asked for key cards and found that all were present. So, you bid 5NT, intending to bid the grand slam if partner could cuebid the ♦K. When he could not, you were content with the small slam in hearts.
West leads the ♣Q to dummy’s ace and East follows. How do you plan to make your contract when trumps are 2-1?
You may be surprised to learn that the contract can be guaranteed whenever the trumps are 2-1!
When trumps break 2-1 the contract can be guaranteed with an elimination play. At trick two, ruff a club with the ♥9. After you play a trump to the ace to ruff dummy’s last club, you re-enter dummy with a trump to the queen. Finally, you make the crucial play of a spade,
intending to cover East’s card.
If East plays low, West wins with the ♠10 and must give away a trick with whatever he returns.
Obviously, a spade or a diamond will give you a 12th trick immediately. The only other possibility is a club, which will give you a ruff-and-discard. You will discard a diamond from dummy and ruff in the South hand. You can then discard two of dummy’s remaining diamonds on the ♠A and ♠K. At this point, there will be two trumps and one low diamond left in dummy, giving you the rest of the tricks.
What would happen if East played the 9 or 10 of spades on the 6? You would cover with the jack, and if that lost to the queen, the ♠A K 8 would produce three tricks on a spade return because only the 10 or 9 from the original defensive holding of ♠Q 10 9 would be still outstanding in the suit.