Answer: Plan to make 11 tricks

By • 1 January, 2013

Photo: Tim Bourke;  Source: Canberra Summer Festival of Bridge 2013

Dealer South. E-W Vul.

NORTH
A J 8 7 5 4 2

8 4 3
J 10 8
SOUTH
K Q 10 6 3
K 9 7 4
A Q 5
2
West North East South
1
2* 4 4NT+ Pass
5 5 Pass Pass
Double All pass
* Michaels promising, 5+ hearts and 5+ cards in one of the minors.
+ Takeout
West leads the ace of clubs followed by the king of clubs. How do you plan to make 11 tricks when it is West who has the
outstanding trump?

Solution

On the bidding, you should place West with the ace of hearts. Then, after ruffing the king of clubs and drawing the outstanding trump, the contract may seem to depend on the diamond finesse. However, there is an extra chance that West holds a doubleton diamond. Suppose the full deal is:

 A J 8 7 5 4 2 8 4 3 J 10 8
 9 A Q 6 3 2 K 6 A K 7 5 3 J 10 8 5 J 10 9 7 2 Q 9 6 4
 K Q 10 6 3 K 9 7 4 A Q 5 2

As you expect West to have at most two diamonds, the play that wins against any distribution is to a ruff a heart, ruff dummy’s last club, cash the ace of diamonds and ruff  a second heart. Next comes a diamond, playing the queen when East follows low. Here, West takes your queen with his king of diamonds but has no safe exit card. If West exits with a club, you will throw your remaining diamond from table and take the ruff in hand. If West plays a heart no matter
whether he plays the ace of hearts or a low one, you will make a trick with the king of hearts and discard dummy’s last diamond on it.
An alternative solution that also wins whenever West has the ace of hearts is to win the trump shift in hand and ruff a heart. After crossruffing clubs and hearts over the next four tricks, cross back to hand with a trump and lead the king of hearts to West’s ace, discarding a diamond from table. West has to concede an extra trick no what he plays; if he plays a diamond then you have two diamond tricks and if he plays club or a heart you will throw a diamond from table and ruff in hand with your last trump. After cashing the ace of diamonds, dummy will have only two trumps left and will be high.
(You should give yourself a pat on the back if you found both solutions.)