Entries and Endplays
by Toby. Duh.
I was sitting South on this hand. There is nothing of interest to say about
the auction [except that we somehow managed to hustle opponents into 4 by N - Ed]. I got the T lead. This went to the queen, and I won my ace, as my jack will form a second stop if I lose the lead to West. It looks like I have two heart tricks, at most four diamond tricks and one club trick. I decided that I would therefore need the A onside to have any chance of making the contract, so I led a small spade to the K, West playing the 7.
Now I just need either to win four diamond tricks, or to endplay West to set up my J. To remove West's heart exit cards, I immediately finessed the Q and cashed the A. Now I had to play diamonds. I led small to the K and finessed the J, hoping to find East with the Q or West with a doubleton Q and the top spades. West won the Q, and cashed his two top spades to prevent a future endplay in clubs, then exited with the third diamond. I now had three diamond tricks, two heart tricks, the A, the K, and the fourth spade in dummy was now established for my eighth trick. Alas, I had not forseen this possibility, and had carelessly played the 6 to the K on the first round of the suit, so all my remaining diamonds were higher than dummy's. I therefore had no entry to dummy's last spade, and was one down. I should have kept my 6 as an entry to dummy's beercard and the last spade.
The play becomes even more interesting if West unblocks his Q on the first round of the suit. Now I can't win the K, as East will then have an entry to lead through my J, giving West four club tricks. Instead, I have to duck. Then if West gives me a club trick, I lead up to the K and make two spades, two clubs, two hearts, and a diamond. Otherwise I have time to set up my fourth diamond.