Without a high spot, no guess
Ilka Chase, an actress whose epitaph reads, “I've finally gotten to the bottom of things,” said, “You can always spot a well-informed man
— his views are the same as yours.”
At the bridge table, we concentrate on the honor cards, but it is also important to pay attention to the spot cards. (Yes, the 10 has a split personality, being both an honor and a spot.) In this deal, for example, how should South play in six diamonds after West leads the club queen? Would it make a difference if the diamond four were exchanged for one of South's spots?
In the auction, two spades was fourth-suit game-forcing. South described his hand pattern by bidding three clubs (at least 5-5 in the minors) and three spades (3=0=5=5). North then bid what he thought his partner could make.
South has an unavoidable trump loser. But he must discard all four of his club losers before a defender can ruff in and cash a club. This requires finding hearts 4-4. Then, as if that were not enough, South also has to avoid a spade loser. With this layout, that requires finding West with the spade queen.
The play goes: club to the ace, diamond king, diamond to the ace, three top hearts (discarding clubs), heart ruff, spade nine overtaken by dummy's 10 and pitch the last club on the high heart seven. Slam made, with much gnashing of teeth from the defenders.
Note, though, that if dummy has a higher diamond, which becomes an entry after a defender ruffs the last heart, declarer can finesse either opponent for the spade queen.
Look for the Saturday Bridge and Chess and local Bridge results in the new Saturday Fun & Games section