ACES ON BRIDGE
Oh, order! Material order, intellectual order, moral order! … To know where we are going and what we want; that is order. To keep one’s word, to do the right thing, and at the right time: more order. — Henri Amiel
Today’s deal sees North stretch just a fraction to treat his hand as a game-forcing spade raise, then sign off upon finding short hearts opposite. South has more than enough to drive to slam (though pessimists could use Blackwood first if they prefer), since even facing the most unsuitable hand, there will probably be play for slam on most leads.
West is fortunate to have been dealt a sequence on lead, and that gives declarer no help. How should he play to combine his chances for 12 tricks? He has two slow losers (in clubs and diamonds) and two queens whose value he can exploit if he uses them efficiently. He can take a heart finesse and discard his diamond loser from hand, or he can lead to the club queen: If he finds West with the king, he can pitch his diamond loser from dummy on his top club.
It looks logical to win the diamond lead and draw trumps ending in hand, but then declarer has to commit himself, and the order of his plays is critical. He must play West for the club king by leading toward the club queen. If this fails, he still has time to take the heart finesse. Conversely, if he finesses in hearts first and loses, there is no second chance. He cannot avoid a club loser.
As the cards lie, West will take his king and return a diamond, but declarer can win and unblock clubs, then ruff a heart to hand to pitch the diamond loser from the North hand on the club ace.
three clubs Your himself, partner so did presumably not compete he has to a doubleton spade and no more than five clubs. My best bet to beat the contract might be to lead a trump and kill the club ruffs in dummy, in the hope that neither hearts nor diamonds will be easy for declarer to establish. The diamond king is too committal an opening lead for my taste.