In Control

Dlr:
North
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ A K 7
K J 9 8 7 5 3
10 9 4
♣ —
South
♠ Q 6 5 4
A K Q J 3 2
♣ 9 4 3
West North East South
1 Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 2♠
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass 6 All Pass

Against your slam, West – no doubt envisioning club shortness in the North hand based on the jump to 6 – starts off with a trump. What is your plan for bringing this contract home?

[su_spoiler title=”See the Solution” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]

West’s lead was good for his side. On other leads, (especially a club), South would have been able to ruff three clubs in dummy and make 12 tricks on most defensive layouts. While he could have relied on spades being 3-3 or a major-suit squeeze, declarer decided that setting up dummy’s hearts offered a brighter prospect of success.

After taking the opening lead with dummy’s 10, declarer made the key move of ruffing a heart high in his hand. After ruffing a club in dummy and a second heart high in hand, declarer crossed to dummy by playing a low spade to dummy’s ace to lead a third round of hearts. When East discarded a club from hand, so did declarer, which proved to be necessary to make 12 tricks, for otherwise he would have lost trump control.

West took the trick with the Q and exited with a trump to dummy’s 9 and declarer’s 3. After ruffing another heart, thereby establishing the suit, declarer drew West’s remaining trump with his A, then claimed his contract: He made three spades, two hearts, six trumps and a club ruff for a total of 12 tricks.

Observe that, after West had won the Q, he had no winning defense. A spade, his best play in abstract, would have been won in hand with the queen and dummy would have been entered by playing a spade to dummy’s king, after which the rest of the play would have been as above. A club exit would have fared no better: declarer would have ruffed in dummy, ruffed a heart low, drawn trumps, then claimed the rest of the tricks. The full deal:

Dlr:
North
Vul:
Both
North
♠ A K 7
K J 9 8 7 5 3
10 9 4
♣ —
West
♠ 8 3
A Q 6 4
8 7 6
♣ K Q 10 6
East
♠ J 10 9 2
10 2
5
♣ A J 8 7 5 2
South
♠ Q 6 5 4
A K Q J 3 2
♣ 9 4 3

[/su_spoiler]