ACES ON BRIDGE
This is the last of the week’s examples of manipulating a trump fit missing the king. Here, South’s three-no-trump call offers a choice of games. North is allowed to pass, though he would normally convert to four spades with four-card trump support, if not owning a completely square shape or terrible trumps. Today, though, North might see the possibility of a club ruff in his hand.
As declarer in four spades, you cover the lead of the club jack with the king, win the club continuation and lead a heart to dummy for the winning spade finesse. It looks best now to take the diamond ace and spade ace. If the king does not fall, eliminate your clubs and hearts, then play a second diamond, hoping West began with the doubleton diamond king and just two spades. If so, he will be forced to lead a club or heart and let you pitch your third-round diamond loser.
The spade king falls, and declarer can draw trumps and claim 10 tricks. Should anything different have happened?
Maybe, though much may depend on the ability of South and West. When declarer leads a trump to the jack, West has an obligatory false-card of dropping the nine or 10. If South has not encountered this maneuver before, he may decide to play West for a singleton or the doubleton 10-9 of trumps, then cross to dummy to lead the spade queen in an attempt to pin the remaining intermediate.