For a change, there is no particular theme this week, just like at the table, where no one whispers ‘This is a Squeeze’ or ‘This is a Dummy reversal’.
How would you declare Six Spades on our first deal, with East having bid Hearts? West leads the ten of Hearts.
You can count 11 winners, via seven Spades, Ace-king of Diamonds, a Diamond ruff in dummy and the Ace of Clubs. The Club finesse (low to the Queen) is the clearest chance of a 12th trick, but East’s bid suggests he might hold the King.
In fact, there is an 100% line on the assumption East holds both top Hearts. Can you find it?
Don’t pointlessly cover the ten of Hearts with dummy’s Knave (and go down). Play low and ruff in hand. Cash the Ace-king of Spades, drawing trumps (East discarding two Hearts), then cross to the King of Diamonds, back to the Ace and ruff the third Diamond to eliminate the suit.
The scene is set. At trick seven, lead dummy’s Queen of Hearts and, when East covers it with the King, discard a Club from hand (key play). East is endplayed.
If he leads another Heart (low or the Ace), dummy’s Knave is promoted for a second Club discard.
If he leads a fourth Diamond, you can discard a Club from hand and ruff in dummy, again obviating the need for the Club finesse.
Finally, a Club from the King runs round to dummy’s Ace- Queen. Twelve tricks and slam made.
Lack of dummy entries is the problem on our second deal, a game.
West led out three top Hearts, declarer ruffing carefully with the nine, to preserve his two as a way to reach dummy.
At trick four, he led the King of Spades, West winning the Ace and returning a passive second Spade. Declarer won dummy’s eight, underplaying with his precious two, and was in dummy for the one and only time.
Declarer needed East to have both minor-suit Kings to have a chance. Even assuming that, he had to be careful.
Say he leads the ten of Clubs and runs it. If he then leads the Queen of Clubs, East covers with the King. He wins the Ace and cashes the Knave, but has no way back to dummy to take the Diamond finesse. Down one.
There is only one way to succeed. Declarer must lead the Queen of Clubs and (assuming East plays low—best) unblock the Knave from hand (key play). He then follows with the ten (or nine) of Clubs.
If East plays low again, he remains in dummy to lead a Diamond to the Queen. However, if East covers the ten with the King, declarer wins the Ace, crosses to the nine and again leads a Diamond to the Queen. Ten tricks and game made.