Prakash Dalvi is well known to readers of this column. He often brings home tricky contracts with stunning plays. Watch him in action in one more such contract.
H- J 8 5
D- 9 7 6 5
C- K Q 6 4 3
S- A K 9 8 4
D- A Q 3
C- A 10 52
Prakash was dealer. He opened 1 club (strong) & like a typical expert soon shot to 6 clubs. West led the King of hearts If you take stock you will come to certain conclusions. If spades are 4-3 & trumps are 2-2 even a child can make 12 tricks by ruffing 2 hearts in hand & discarding 2 diamonds on spades. Dummy loses only one diamond if the King is with west. If diamond finesse is on all you need to do is ruff 2 hearts in hand, but you may need trumps to break 2-2 otherwise the hand may become awkward.
Well let me tell you that the trumps were 3-1, spades broke 5-2 & diamond finesse was off. Yet Prakash made 12 tricks & there was no misdefence Perhaps you would like to try before reading further.
Prakash won the 1st trick with the Ace, & played a small club to King, west producing the club Jack. That meant trumps were 3-1. Prakash continued with spade Ace & ruffed a spade in dummy. He came to back to hand with a heart ruff & played another spade. On this west discarded a heart. So the spades wouldn’t produce an extra trick. Prakash ruffed this in dummy & played heart Jack. On this he made a startling play. He discarded a small diamond from hand. West was helplessly end played. Left with only hearts & diamonds, he backed a heart because he was looking at diamond King. Prakash ruffed in dummy with club Queen (lest east overruffs) & discarded the diamond Queen from hand. Now he played a small diamond to Ace, cashed the spade King & ruffed his last spade in dummy. His last 2 cards were club Ace & club 10 which were both winners.
The odds of scoring this slam must be very small yet Prakash brought it home with apparent ease, the hallmark of a truly great player.