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Hold up or Slam

05/03/2024 Board 15

This hand is from a Winter Teams match. Both tables reached 3 NT by North, West having bid spades during the bidding. East dutifully lead spades and North made the contract comfortable in both cases.

A better lead would beQ. Dummy should duck, and duck a second time if East continues withJ. A good West will drop the ten to unblock and the defence will make 5 diamond tricks - one off!

The best contract is a club slam. There are 9 tricks in clubs and hearts. The spade finesse makes 11. Where will the extra trick come from?

Ruff any diamond continuation from East in your hand, retaining theK on table. After the spade finesse succeeds, it's a fairly straight-forward squeeze against West. West obviously holds theA and the spades, so can not guard against dummy'sK and your ♠ A 9. Play off all the trumps before delivering the squeeze play in hearts.