Puzzle This

North
♠ A Q 8 7 6 5
5 4
J 5 4
♣ 8 6
West
♠ K J 3
8 7
A 10 9 8 7
♣ Q 10 7
East
♠ 10 2
6 3 2
6 3
♣ K J 9 5 3 2

–>

South
♠ 9 4
A K Q J 10 9
K Q 2
♣ A 4

As South, you are declarer in 6. West leads the A and continues with the 10. Looking at all four hands, what’s your plan?

View Solution
You start with one spade trick, six hearts, two diamonds and a club: 10 tricks. The spade finesse gets you to 11, so you’ll need to establish dummy’s long spades for the slam-going 12th trick. The problem will be how to get to dummy after you set up the spades.

If you’re in the good habit of planning the play at trick one, you’ll spot the critical play right away. On the lead of the A, you must unblock a diamond honor from your hand. When West continues the suit, win the other diamond honor, preserving the J in dummy as a vital link to the table.

Next, draw trumps, take the spade finesse, cash the ♠A and ruff a spade. With the long suit set up, you can use your cleverly preserved 2 to cross to dummy’s jack. A good spade from the table allows you to park the losing club from your hand and make your contract.

Could West beat you with a club lead? Yes, but that’s not your problem.