Hand of the Week
Even though partner’s second double promised extra values in a balanced hand, probably without primary spade support, you decided to press onto game because you had no defensive values. West leads the ♣K, winning the first trick, and continues with the ♣J. East overtakes this with the ace and returns the ♣10 to West’s queen. West then exits with a trump. How will you continue?
West is sure to hold both the red-suit kings, but as you have only one convenient entry to the South hand, you are unable to take finesses in both suits. So, you will need some plan other than simply finessing in the red suits.
Indeed, you should win the trump switch with dummy’s ace, cash the ♠K and then make the apparently strange move of cashing the ace of hearts, hoping that the full deal is something like this:
When you play four more rounds of trumps from the South hand, reducing your hand to three cards, West has to keep the ♥K and therefore has no option but to reduce to a doubleton ♦K. You throw the ♥Q from dummy, finesse the ♦Q and cash the ace. Dummy’s last diamond will be high.
If you fail to cash the ♥A before running your trumps, you would have to guess which four cards West decided to keep in the ending. He might fool you by keeping ♥K 2 and the ♦K J. If you thought that the ♥K was bare, you would retain the ♥A Q and the ♦A Q in dummy and finesse in diamonds. The reason for cashing the ♥A should now be clear – it was to avoid any drama in the endgame.