Here is last week’s hand. Or at least the only thing you can see as South, declarer.
(S) 8 4 3
(H) J 5
(D) K J 10
(C) A Q 8 7 2
The contract is six no-trump, and the lead is the jack of spades. Looks like a lay down, so what could be possibly go wrong?
(S) A K
(H) A 7 2
(D) A Q 9 5
(C) K 10 6 3
If either opponent holds only three of the missing four clubs, it is a laydown, but many times you must be pessimistic and think of other possibilities and how to overcome them.
This is a simple counting situation but at least gives you a start on the road of first-grade math.
There is no reason to count points, because the only card you are concerned is worth one point, and since all bids have a two or more point spread, this will tell you nothing.
So what do you count? Since diamonds are the only ones you have all the top ones, you start there where you learn that West has only two while East has four.
What does that tell you? That two from 13 is 11 and may give you a little help in thinking that he has a number of other cards which might contain four clubs.
Small help but you go with it anyway.
Here is the complete hand:
With this tiny bit of knowledge, you decide that though East with nine cards left in the other suits, you will assume or hope West is holding the clubs. Of course, you could have just played the ace, king and queen and hope that the jack will fall.
So you play the king of clubs, and when East shows out, you know your assumption was correct. Next, play the 10 of clubs, covered by the jack and take it with the queen on board. Come back to hand and finesse the nine and bingo. You have made the small slam.
Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.