Source: IBPA Column Service Mar 2018

Dealer South. Neither Vul

7 5 4 2
9
A K
K 9 7 5 4 2
K J 10 8 3
K Q J 6 2
J 8 3
9
10 8 7 5 4
10 7 6 4
J 10 8
A Q 6
A 3
Q 9 5 2
A Q 6 3
West North East South
1
21 22 4 4
Pass 6 End

1. Michaels cue-bid, promising 5+/5+ in the majors
2. Limit raise or better in clubs

West led the king of hearts. Declarer could count 11 tricks and saw that, as the spades were undoubtedly 5=1, the twelfth would have to come from an elimination and endplay.

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

So, declarer won the first trick with the ace of hearts and ruffed the three of hearts at trick two. Declarer continued with a low trump to the ace. After West discarded a heart, declarer continued by cashing dummy’s ace and king of diamonds. (This was a safe manoeuvre as, from the auction, West had at least ten cards in the majors and so at most three diamonds, giving East at least four cards in the suit.)

Next, declarer drew East’s remaining trumps with dummy’s king and his queen. After cashing the queen of diamonds, throwing a spade from table, declarer ruffed the nine of diamonds in dummy, eliminating that suit. As West had three diamonds, his original shape had to be 5=5=3=0.

Declarer led a spade from dummy and when East played the nine he played the six from his hand. This gave the defenders no winning option. Since West had discarded the ten of spades earlier, he allowed the nine of spades to hold; but as East only had hearts left, he had to lead one.

Declarer threw the queen of spades from his hand and ruffed in dummy for his tenth trick. His hand was now high, with a trump and the ace of spades. Of course, if West had overtaken the nine of spades he could avoid conceding a ruff-and-discard only by leading a spade, giving declarer the two spade tricks needed for his contract.

Finally, there was an alternative endplay: declarer could have cashed the ace of spades before endplaying East with a diamond to get a forced heart return with the same result as occurred at the table in practice.