Some tried — in vain — for a grand slam in hearts, others played in 6H making easily. Those in 6NT had the opportunity to score the best. Could they bring home the contract?

Dealer: East
Love All


At duplicate pairs, without a singleton or void in North’s hand, 6NT seems the best bid. 6H allows you simply to ruff a spade or a diamond for your 12th trick, whereas in 6NT, you will have to rely on a finesse being correct or, forming an endplay. Since both diamond and spade finesses are losing, the latter play will prove essential.

Most West players led 10♣, which declarer won perforce. To succeed wherever Q♠ and K♦ lie, West must be stripped of a safe way of getting off lead once he wins the first finesse. South should cash all four rounds of clubs, and then just three rounds of hearts, retaining an entry to the table. Now, he can lead a diamond and, whatever East plays, declarer covers it. Let’s say that East rises with 10♦, J♦ is played and West wins with K♦. If he leads another diamond, it runs to declarer’s ♦A9; if he opts instead for a spade, this runs to South ♠KJ.

Notice that, in order to succeed in the latter case, declarer must cash his spade winner in hand, cross to dummy with the carefully preserved final heart, and then enjoy A♠ as his 12th trick.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article