Proper management of entries is one of the keys to successful declarer play. South failed to appreciate that on this hand and squandered one of dummy’s entries prematurely, which cost him his slam.
E/W vulnerable, South deals
A 9 3
A K J 6 5 4
|A Q J 8 7
K J 7 5
|10 9 2
Q 10 6 4 3 2
Q 9 8 7
|K 6 5
K Q 10 8 7 6 5 2
Opening lead: 5
Observe South’s choice of opening bid. His hand is too strong for four hearts, which is a pre-emptive measure. With an ace and a king outside the trump suit, one heart is the correct opening bid. When South showed a strong trick-taking hand. North invited slam by raising, in the process denying a side-suit control outside of clubs. South was delighted to accept in view of his second-round spade control and total control of diamonds.
Since the king of spades was virtually marked in the South hand, West wisely refrained from leading the ace. Instead, he tried to set up a trick in diamonds. Declarer won the ace, drew trumps in two rounds, cashed the ace and king of clubs, sluffing a spade on the second high club, and ruffed a club.
When the queen of clubs failed to come down in three rounds, declarer realized he was in trouble. He got back to dummy with a trump and led a spade to his king, but West had the ace — no surprise — and declarer lost two spade tricks.
Declarer was in too great a hurry to draw trumps. Dummy’s hearts were needed as entries to set up and cash the club suit. After winning the ace of diamonds, declarer should immediately lead a club to the king and ruff a club high.
Next, he cashes the king and ace of hearts, drawing the out-standing trumps and leaving himself in dummy to ruff another club to set up the suit. Now declarer can get back to dummy with the nine of hearts, cash the ace of clubs to fell the queen, and discard all his , spades on dummy’s good clubs. Instead of going down one, declarer ends up making an overtrick.