10 9 7 5
J 10 4 2
10 9 6 3
Q 6 4
A 6 5
A K Q 7 5
A K 8 3
K 8 3
K Q J 9 4
Q 9 7
8 4 2
A 10 8 6 2
We can absolve our hero of any malfeasance in today’s auction at least. East’s leap to 6NT is perhaps a trifle rash, when we consider that the seven or eight missing points might include two aces, or likelier, and worse, the ace and king of diamonds. Six clubs, six spades and even six hearts may be better than 6NT, and there are several levels and available bids to find out. 6NT does rate to play better than 6D, however.
But 6NT turns out to be a superb contract, and we aren’t here to talk about the bidding anyway. Declarer has eleven tricks after he knocks out the club ace, and many possibilities for a twelfth. Diamonds can break, spades can break, the club ten can drop, and there are squeeze chances all over the joint. I make the contract in the hands of a competent declarer about 95%.
Of course it is Gee who is declaring. The S10 is led, and Gee goes right to work on severing his communications. He wins in hand with the queen, leads a low diamond to dummy’s jack, and crosses back to his hand with the HA, removing his last entry. He now cashes two top diamonds, carefully discarding a spade first and then a heart, preserving the crucial fifth club. Both defenders follow.
The reader who says to himself at this point that the contract is making anyway underestimates the master. Gee cashes a fourth diamond, discarding a club finally as South does the same, and shifts to the C3, stranding his fifth good diamond in hand. (The alert reader will note that the C3 is not next to the diamond, but one card removed. This weakens the motor impairment defense.) Unlucky again: the club ten doesn’t drop, and it didn’t matter that he killed his spade threat because spades don’t break anyway.
Gee’s line requires that diamonds break (or if they don’t, that the defender with the CA is short diamonds), and that the C10 drop. We add in the 1% and change that the club ace is stiff onside and arrive at 32% or so. So our Gee spot becomes 95% – 32% = 63%, or 63. Not bad, but not 100. The search continues.
I think the hand is 100%. I challenge any reader to come up with a layout where the contract can’t be made on a spade lead.
I may be wrong Justin, (it certainly won’t be the first time), but I cannot see a making line if North’s nine, seven of spades are exchanged with South’s eight, four of diamonds.
Pseudo-Gee is correct, as dross has also pointed out; the squeeze is off if both defenders have a heart guard and both black-suit threats sit behind dummy.
Maybe this was one of those working session hands we were not suppose to see in which our hero was demonstrating for Sophie how [not] finding the 100% line of play is as simple as [not] counting to 13 when playing declarer’s best suit.
I agree with Justin.
A monkey could make this hand with the spade 10 lead.
If you can count to 13, it should be easy to make. If you can’t count to 13, it can be tricky. A counting monkey would make it I agree.
When I first saw the hand I said to myself “I hate it when I bid 6N and it goes ace and a ruff.” Is there any other way to go down?