Hand of the Week
(1) Cuebid for spades.
West leads the ♦J against your sound small slam in spades. How do you plan to make 12 tricks?
It would be easy for you to be careless on this layout:
Suppose you win the opening lead with the ♦A and play a trump to the king. The upshot is that you can no longer make your contract. There is no way to avoid a diamond loser, and the third round of hearts will be overruffed by East.
While you may rate this as incredibly unlucky, when a contract appears to be certain, you turn you attention to a distribution that might defeat you. As a 2-2 or 3-1 trumps will allow you to draw trumps and ruff a heart safely in dummy, a 4-0 break is the only potential problem.
So, at trick two you should begin playing trumps by cashing the ace. When West discards, you will cross to the ♥ A to lead a second round of trumps from the table. When East plays low, you will finesse the 8, and if he inserts the ♠9 or ♠10, you win the trick with queen. Next, you will cash the ♥ K and ruff your losing heart with dummy’s ♠K. Now you can pick up East’s remaining trumps, finessing the 8 if necessary. So, despite some bad breaks in the majors, you will score 12 tricks.