BRIDGE with Bob Jones
Some players will hang onto their last trump until the end of the hand, as if it were a cardboard security blanket. Good players realize that playing off their last trump might be the key to making their contract.
South’s three no-trump bid showed extra values within a balanced hand. North asked for aces and bid a slam that appeared to have two certain losers — a spade and a diamond. South made the diamond loser disappear. South won the opening club lead with his ace and played off the ace, king, and queen of hearts, drawing trumps. A spade to the king lost to East’s ace and East shifted to the nine of diamonds.
South knew that East would never lead away from the king of diamonds in this position, so he rose with his ace. Declarer led a spade to the queen and crossed back to his hand with a heart to the jack as West shed a spade. South cashed the jack of spades and West discarded the jack of diamonds. West could not defend the position when South cashed his last trump. West had to discard a club in order to keep the king of diamonds, so the queen of diamonds was discarded from dummy and dummy’s clubs took the last three tricks. Nicely played!
Note that a club return by East rather than a diamond would defeat the contract. The important link to dummy would have been used up at the wrong time.