The Secret Weapon by Jay Becker

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Let’s say you’re declarer at six spades and West leads the ten of hearts.

Becker, B Jay (Small)
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Gadsden Times – 15 Oct 1963

aaxxLet’s say you’re declarer at six spades and West leads the ten of hearts. You can’t tell at this point whether you’ll make the slam or not, since the outcome depends un how the opponents’ cards are divided, but you say to yourself  the chances look very good.

First of all, there is the chance that when you play the jack of hearts on the ten, it may force the ace. West may have led the ten from some holding including the Q-10-9-8.

Secondly, you may find the clubs divided 3-3, in which case a diamond loser from dummy can eventually be discarded on the thirteenth club to make the slam.

Thirdly, if both these possibilities fail, you could fall back on the diamond finesse, and, if it worked, you would lose only one diamond instead of two, and thus make the slam.

All of these are sound possibilities, but, if you stop right there, you haven’t completed the job. There is a fourth possibility that is not so apparent, but one that could prove effective even if East had the A-Q of hearts, and the clubs were not 3-3, and West had the king of diamonds.

This fourth possibility might well save the day if all else failed. Accordingly, you play the jack of hearts at trick one and ruff East’s queen. After drawing two rounds of trumps, you cash the A-K-Q of clubs in that order, learning that the clubs are divided 4-2. Now you make use of the secret weapon by playing the king of hearts from dummy. East is forced to cover with the ace, which you ruff. Then you trump a club in dummy and play the seven of hearts. When East follows low, the contract is in the hag. You discard a diamond and West is forced to nin and return a diamond or else give you a ruff and discard.

The fourth possibility was that West’s opening lead was from the 10-9-8. This very substantial possibility was not to be spurned.

 

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