16th January 2019

Dealer S N-S vulnerable.

S QJ74
D AJ93
C KQ102

S A865
H 96
D K8
C A9643

1C 2H Double
4S Pass
4NT Pass
5H Pass
6S Pass

The above hand is perhaps the most interesting one from the finals of the Manchester Congress Teams.  In the A final six spades was bid three times out of eight, making twice.  In the B final six spades was bid four times out of eight, making once, plus one pair bid and made the superior (at teams) six clubs, which is much easier to play.  In the C final six spades was bid four times out of six, making only once.  So the success rate of six spades was only 36% of the 11 times it was played, and 12 tricks were made only 22% of the time by players in game.

How do you play six spades on a heart lead?  Start with a diamond to the king and a trump towards the dummy, in case West has a singleton king.  The queen holds with West playing the ten, what now?


Play the jack of spades from dummy and when East covers with the king duck, West shows out.

Assuming East now plays a heart, you must ruff this in dummy and now have a finesse position to draw the remaining trumps.

Look what happens if you win the second spade trick with the Ace.  You cannot play another spade, otherwise East will win and play her fourth spade.  You now are a trick short because you cannot trump your losing heart.  If instead you trump a heart before giving East her trump trick, she will force you with another heart and her fourth spade will now be good.

Note that East made an excellent play by ducking the jack of spades.  The contract would have made easily if she had taken her king immediately.

Careful play is also needed in the club suit – you must not start with the Ace of clubs in case East has all four clubs.  If you start with the king or queen then you can pick up Jxxx in either hand.  On the actual hand clubs broke three-one so this was not an issue.

Thanks to John Currie for reporting this deal