Test your play:
1. You are declarer with the West hand at Six Spades, and North leads a trump, South following suit. How would you play the hand?
2. You are declarer with the West hand at Six Clubs, and North leads the king of hearts. How would you play the hand?
1. Win the trump lead in dummy, ruff a diamond, play a heart to dummy’s king and ruff the queen of diamonds. Then lead a heart to the ace.
If both opponents follow suit, you ruff a heart, return to dummy with a trump and ruff another heart to establish dummy’s fifth heart. You then cross to dummy with a trump, discard a club on the good heart and take a club finesse to try for an overtrick.
If North shows out on the second heart, you take the ace, return a club from dummy and finesse the nine. North probably wins with the ten or jack, but whatever he does next, you are sure to make the slam whether he returns a club or gives you a ruff-and-discard by leading a diamond.
If South shows out when you take the heart king, you again lead a club to the nine. After winning the trick with the ten or jack, he cannot return a heart without establishing one of dummy’s hearts as a trick, and if he leads a club or diamond, he also hands you the slam.
Finally, if South plays the club ten or jack on your lead from dummy at trick six, you cover with the queen to create the same ending.
2. Ruff the heart and lead a low diamond to dummy’s queen. If the finesse loses to South’s king, your only chance for the slam is to find South with the doubleton king of clubs. You take a trump finesse as soon as possible and hope for the best.
If the diamond finesse at trick two wins, indicating that North has the king, lead a low trump to your ace at trick three! If the jack or king of trumps appears on this trick, you’re sure to make the slam, since your only possible loser would be a trump trick.
If both defenders play low on the ace of clubs, return to dummy with a spade and lead the ten of clubs. If South follows suit, you’re home safe and sound.
Note that once the diamond finesse wins at trick two, it becomes better to play a trump to your ace than to try a trump finesse, since this guards against the singleton king in the North hand. With a slam at stake, the safety play to the ace gives you the maximum chance for the contract.
For details about local bridge events, go to the HK Contract Bridge Association website.