Opening lead – jack of spades
Declarer should not be satisfied with adopting a promising line of play when there might be a better approach available. Any move that increases his chances of making the contract without risking it is a step in the right direction.
Take this case where West led a spade against six diamonds. South could see at once that his only potential losers were two clubs. But rather than pin his hopes solely on a successful finesse — an even-money shot — South resolved to augment his chances by attempting an endplay.
So he took the spade with the king, drew trumps, cashed the ace of spades and ruffed a spade. He then played the K-A of hearts and ruffed the eight in dummy.
This series of plays eliminated all the spades and hearts from the North-South hands. With the lead now in dummy, South’s plan was to lead a club and, if East followed low, insert the eight. This would assure the slam regardless of where the king was located, since with West on lead any return was certain to hand declarer the rest of the tricks.
But even the best-laid plans have been known to go awry, and East upset the apple cart when he produced the nine on the first club.
However, declarer had one more string to his bow. There was no need to finesse at the moment, he reasoned, since the club finesse was still available if it became necessary.
He therefore ducked the nine on the off chance that it might be a singleton, and it was this final flourish that did his opponents in. It did not matter whether East or West won the trick; either way the slam was in the bag.
For details about local bridge events, go to the HK Contract Bridge Association website.