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Taking Care

East Deals
E-W Vul
K Q 6 2
K 2
K 8 6
K Q 9 5
A J 8 4
A 6
A 9 3
A 10 4 3

North and South bid up to 6 on this hand.
This slam looks pretty easy, if thing break nicely. Whenever that's the case, it is worth looking for safety plays.
West led the Q, which declarer, Guss Ginsburg, won in hand. His intention was to draw trumps in three rounds, cash the rest of the red suit winners, and exit with the third round of diamonds. Whichever opponent won would have to break the club suit or concede a ruff and discard to Guss.
Unfortunately, East pitched a heart on the second spade. The plan was going to have to change. Guss played out the rest of his trumps, and East continued to pitch hearts. Guss then ducked a diamond. West won and exited a heart, won in dummy. Guss then cashed the rest of his diamonds and hearts. On the K, East pitched a heart.
So, Guss can count out West's hand somewhat. West started with five diamonds, four spades and at least two hearts. Therefore, West started with at most two clubs. Guss played off the K-Q, and when West showed out, Guss claimed, taking the marked finesse.
The diamond duck is a fairly basic play, but not many people found it at the table. Even without it, most who played this hand guessed East for the club length.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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