As South, can you overcome the entry problems and find the best play?No fair peeking at the answers!
1. Jacoby transfer
You have 10 top tricks and can easily set up two more in spades, but dummy has no outside entry. If you cash the K then finesse the J, you will be set if it loses.
To succeed, you must combine your chances in spades and clubs. Do not cash the K. At trick two lead the 2 and play the jack. If it loses, the rest of the spade suit will be good by overtaking your king with the ace. If the J wins, you have an extra entry to dummy to finesse clubs twice run the J, then overtake the K with the ace to finesse clubs again.
Again you have 10 top tricks. Your best chance is to establish the diamond suit. The problem is that the hearts are blocked and the opening lead removes your spade entry.
Win the A, unblock the K-Q, and duck a diamond. Whatever the return, you can win your A to discover how the diamonds break. If diamonds are 3-2 you will discard dummys low clubs on your major-suit winners, then dummy will be good. If diamonds happen to split 4-1, you will discard the losing diamonds then rely on the club finesse as a last resort.
You need all the tricks and it looks like the club suit will have to run. Should you finesse or play to drop the queen? Look again! You may not even need the club suit.
Overtake the K with the ace and cash two more hearts, discarding both top spades from dummy. Now you can cash the Q-J-10 and discard all three top diamonds. Finally, run your diamonds from the top and the 2 will be good, barring a 5-0 diamond split. Wow! The spectators go into a state of frenzy, cheering wildly as they toss you many bouquets of roses.
© 1997 Richard Pavlicek