Bridge - The Scotsman, 08/06/13

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On the rare occasions when we pick up an enormous hand it can be difficult to stop at a safe level.

As it happens, your system has a way to show every no-trump range from 20 upwards, and this sequence shows 28-29 high card points. Partner’s five points seem enough for slam, particularly when his jacks are supported by tens, but when dummy goes down you realise that you have no sure entry. North leads the six of diamonds. How would you plan the play?

You have eight cashing tricks in your hand, and can surely establish three more in spades. If only you could reach the queen of hearts you would have twelve tricks, but it looks as if you cannot reach dummy unless opponents lend a hand. Can you see a way?

There is a ploy that appears in books on card play, in the chapter on Entry Creation: lead the queen of spades from hand. If someone takes the king the jack will provide an entry to dummy. You can try this without cashing the top hearts, which would inform the defenders of your problem. If someone wins and returns a spade you can win in hand, cash the hearts, cross to the jack of spades and discard your little club on the queen of hearts. But what if an astute defender realises what you are trying to do, and ducks the queen of spades?

You might lay down the ace, to see if the king drops. If it does not you could cash all your side suit winners and exit with a spade, hoping someone has Kxx/xxxxx/xxx/xx. Or you might lead towards dummy’s Jx, hoping that North has the king. But there is no need for such optimism – just cash the top hearts and play the ten of spades. All you need is a 3-2 spade break: if the king is taken the jack is your entry to dummy; if not it will fall under the ace and you have five spade tricks.