It is not often that one comes across a deal where the declarer has the choice of end-playing either opponent! It happened, however, in a round robin among six teams in the K.J. Seetharaman memorial prize-money tournament held recently in Chennai. In other words, declarer could choose his victim!
Contract: Six diamonds. West leads the club seven.
Bidding comment: Being an IMP match, north chose to raise partner rather than bid 3NT, for he was a little worried about the three small hearts in his hand. Opener could well have had: S Q-J-x H A D K-Q-10-x-x-x C Q-x-x. Also, he estimated that the loss would only be an IMP or two, if both three no-trump and five diamonds are making.
When opener showed slam interest, north willingly co-operated in his partner's move and eventually bid the slam.
Play: West led the club seven. Declarer played the ace from dummy and noted with interest the fall of the club queen from east. A trump was led to the ace next, west showing out. Declarer cashed the heart ace, crossed to the spade king, and played the diamond jack. East covered with the diamond queen. Declarer won with the king, entered dummy by the nine of diamonds, and ruffed a heart. He next entered dummy through club king, east showing out. Declarer then ruffed dummy's last heart, to arrive at the four-card position below:
When declarer cashed the ace of spades, west followed with the jack. He could now exit in a club to end play west or alternatively exit in a spade to end play east.
The full deal is:
1) The contract of six diamonds may appear to be a bit of a stretch… but considering the NS hands are bristling with controls and there is a 6-4 fit with only the trump queen missing, you can excuse them for being optimistic! Didn't south justify the overbid by his play?
2) In all the other tables, the contract was 3NT, south making eleven tricks
3) As you can see, the play involved the elimination of hearts from the defending hands, cashing of the black suit winners, and finally the throw-in, resulting in a ruff and discard!