You lead the six of spades, and declarer wins partner’s ten with the jack. South leads a heart to dummy’s jack and returns the queen of diamonds, which you win with the king. How would you continue?
2. You are declarer with the West hand at Six Notrump, and North leads the ten of hearts. How would you play the hand?
1. From the play thus far, it is clear that South’s opening notrump bid (15 to 17 points) included the ace of hearts, ace of diamonds and A-K-J of spades (your partner cannot have the ace or king of spades, given his play at trick one). It follows that South cannot have the king of clubs, which would give him 19 points.
You should therefore shift to the club three at this point, confident that partner will win with the king. If partner has another club to return, you will defeat the contract.
If you fail to lead a club and in- stead woodenly return a spade, declarer will score three spade tricks, three diamond tricks and at least three hearts to make the contract.
2. The only problem is how to handle the clubs to give yourself the optimal chance for four tricks in the suit. Best is to win the heart in dummy, lead the club six and play low if South plays low. (If the six wins, continue with the seven.) If the six loses to North’s jack or queen, win any return and play the king of clubs. The slam becomes certain if North follows suit to the king.
The only time this line of play fails is when North has been dealt the singleton jack or queen. If you alternatively attacked the clubs by first cashing the king or ace, you would go down if the next player was either void of clubs or held a low singleton. These cases outnumber those where North started with a singleton honor.