LHO doubled and everyone passed! I had a little anxiety as the ace of clubs was led and the dummy was put down:
A quick assessment revealed that I only had 4 quick losers and the spades were very good--only missing the
king and jack. The king and queen of clubs followed as RHO pitched a low diamond (ostensibly encouraging) and I ruffed.
Hoping that LHO had both diamond honors I led a diamond to the 10 and it held. I followed this with the 5 of spades to the 6 in my hand and LHO showed out. Not surprisingly, RHO started with KJxxx of spades.
I led another diamond and LHO played the jack and I won the queen, RHO following again. It looks like diamonds are 3-3. I then played the 8 of spades from the board and let it hold. What now?
I have won 5 tricks and here are the remaining cards:
I decided to lead a heart from the board and, to my surprise, RHO won the king and cashed the ace before he continued with another heart which I ruffed. I now played my last diamond, and as RHO was down to all trumps, he had to ruff and lead a spade into my AQ tenace! Plus 670 was worth 21 out of 25 matchpoints.
Thinking about the hand later, I started wondering whether I really needed to risk the double finesse in diamonds and also whether they could actually beat me. Here is the entire hand:
|♠ K J 4 3 2|
♥ A K 10
♦ 5 3 2
♣ Q 3
♠ 8 5
♥ 9 6 4 3
♦ A Q 10 9
♣ 7 5 4
♠ A Q 10 9 7 6
♥ Q 8
♦ 8 7 6
♣ J 8
♥ J 7 5 2
♦ K J 4
♣ A K 10 9 6 2
|2 ♠ x by East|
The contract can be made even if the defenders manage to cash their 4 winners before I ruff in. In that case, after ruffing in at trick 5 and playing two rounds of diamonds and two rounds of spades, as described, a heart can be led from the board to ruff and continue to shorten my trumps--the key to executing a trump coup. This leads to the same ending as above: exit with the last diamond which RHO will ruff perforce, and win the last 2 tricks with the AQ of spades.
One last scenario: If the opponents cash their 4 winners and shift to a diamond, the timing for the trump coup will be destroyed, but I'll be able to take 3 diamond tricks and 5 trump tricks--losing a trump trick at the end.
See you at the table!