Puzzle This

♠ A Q 9 8 6 3
K 6
9 3
♣ 6 5 4
♠ K 10 7 5 4
A Q J 4
♣ K 8

You are South. As declarer in 6♠, you get a low heart lead from West. How do you play?

View Solution
You have 11 tricks on top: six spades, four hearts and a club. You can make the slam-going trick if the ♣A or if the K is on your right. But if you draw trumps and then, say, take the diamond finesse and it loses, the defense can then cash the &clibs;A to beat you. Alternatively, if you play a club to the king and it loses to LHO’s ace, the defense can cash another club for down one. What’s the right way to do this? How do you test one of the finesses without risking an immediate down one?

First, there is no way to guarantee your contract. If West holds both the K and the ♣A, you’re toast. There is a way to give yourself the best chance, however, if only one of the finesses is working.

Win the K in dummy and draw trumps. Finish cashing your heart winners, pitching two clubs from dummy. Next, re-enter dummy with a trump and play a club to the king. If East rises with the ace, you’re home. If your king loses to West’s ace, ruff the club return in dummy and try the diamond finesse.

This is a 75% slam, so if you go down, don’t feel too bad.

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