ACES ON BRIDGE
There’s an entry point to any relationship. — Will.i.am
The contract of six spades is reached along direct lines when South shows a balanced 22-24, and North transfers into spades to show five, then offers a choice of slams with his call of five no-trump. South selects spades, hoping he can arrange a club ruff in his hand.
Six spades ought to be straightforward enough, but the duplication of values in the club suit means that not only is declarer reliant on the hearts behaving in moderately friendly fashion, he also has entry problems in ensuring he can play hearts to best effect.
The opening lead is the club two to declarer’s ace. Now comes the spade king, and declarer can afford to overtake his king with the ace when West follows suit. At this point, declarer plays a heart to the jack and queen. (If West ducks this, he may lead declarer astray, I suppose, but few would find that play — and declarer can still survive.)
South wins the next club, to lead the spade 10 from hand. When West follows to the trick, he overtakes it in dummy to take a second heart finesse. The 4-1 trump break does not inconvenience declarer, thanks to the multiple unblocks. When the second heart finesse works, South can finesse the spade eight and run the spades, to draw the rest of the trumps, discarding diamonds from hand. Finally, a third heart finesse brings home the bacon.
Declarer ends up taking five spades, three hearts, and two tricks in each of the minors.
ANSWER: There are as many points to be won by going plus instead of minus as there are for stretching to a close game — especially in pairs. Here, your 10-count has only one redeeming feature: the fifth trump. So pass two spades and try to make it.