Yes, the bidding is a little aggressive but I was in slam and got the lead of the Queen of spades. Click on my username (to hide the other hands) and click Next to view the opening lead. What are my chances?
"4H was a shutout bid," partner griped as soon as the lead hit the table. He thought the slam was iffy. And it is. There are three losers: two spades and a club and only two diamond discards. Got any bright ideas?
Q from QJ. Could I hope that East had 4 spades? If so, West would have the doubleton king. Maybe he also has the king of clubs ... The odds of a 2-4 spade break is about 32% and the king being with west is 50%, so this is ... what ... a 16% slam? A 16% chance is better than none!
I took the ace, pulled trumps, unblocked the diamonds, led a heart to dummy and took away all of west's exit cards. Then, threw him in with (what I hoped) was his doubleton king. It was. He led a club. I let it ride to the queen and the slam was made. (click "Next" on the diagram to watch the play as it unfolded).
"Sorry," said West, presumably to his partner.
"Tough to unblock the king of spades," I replied kindly (I thought).
"If I throw the king of spades, you'll establish the spades and use them to discard the club loser in dummy," West countered.
Well, that was true -- if he unblocked on the first trick, I could totally establish my spades. Even I know that much.
But what if he unblocked the king of spades on the 4th diamond? Would I have known what to do? I need to switch plans, throwing my low club and play a spade from dummy. East can take his spade, but my hand is now good. I am not sure I would have found the play, but this teaches me to watch out if a better defender sees the endplay coming and takes countermeasures. (Once he sees the endplay looming, West should anyway throw the king of spades, hoping his partner has the 10 of spades.)
Moral of the story? There are two.
- Be kind to your opponents on BBO. You never know what you might learn.
- Bid iffy slams. Playing them is good practice.