You are playing in a team game and end up in a slam that might actually have a chance. West leads the ♥J: queen, king, ace. Now what? Can you see a way to 12 tricks on this deal?
This deal came up in a team game and six spades was reached at both tables. Both West players led the ♥J, which went to the queen, king and ace. Both declarers led the queen of trumps next. At the first table, the declarer was somewhat inexperienced and played low from dummy at trick two. East won the trick with the king of trumps and returned a heart. After West took the trick, he exited with a diamond. When the ♦A won, declarer claimed the rest for down one.
The second declarer was an old hand at this sort of deal. He rose with dummy’s ♠A at trick two, then cashed the top two diamonds. West’s discard marked the king of trumps with East, so declarer ruffed a diamond, cashed the ♣A, ruffed a club and ruffed another diamond, thereby establishing two long cards in the suit. After ruffing his last club, declarer led an established diamond and threw his losing heart from hand. East made the king of trumps, but that was the only defensive trick.
How do the two plans compare?
The trump finesse is a straight 50:50 proposition. The second declarer’s plan succeeds automatically when the king of trumps is singleton. It also succeeds when East has at least two spades and two, three or four diamonds and also when East has a singleton spade, provided he has either one or two diamonds. All of these chances mean that the second plan will succeed about two times in three. The full deal: