by Ted Muller
South to make 6
Opening Lead: 9
I discovered this tricky layout while developing a computer program. A number of pitfalls are available to both the offense and the defense.
Declarer wins the opening club lead with the ace as east plays the ten-spot, then cashes the A-K. If east keeps a high trump, then the K is cashed, discarding a small red card. A club is ruffed and the 10 is led, covered by east (although it doesn't matter). South's king wins, the last club is ruffed, and hearts are finessed again. If east ducks, dummy wins and leads the 10, jack, queen. If instead east covers the second heart, declarer wins, plays a third heart to dummy, then leads the 10.
In hand with the Q, south cashes any heart honor he may still hold, then throws east in with a trump lead for an endplay in diamonds. What fun!
Now let's go back. Suppose east discards his trump honors on the first two leads! That changes everything. Declarer cashes the A, discarding dummy's 3. East's best play is to unblock a club honor, in which case declarer must now leads the Q! East grabs the king and can do no better than to return a club.
Dummy ruffs and advances the 10. If that is ducked, then the 10 is led, covered and won by south. Declarer cashes the A and draws the trumps with dummy's 10. The long diamond and another heart finesse brings declarer to twelve tricks. Alternatively, if the 10 is covered, south wins and plays either a diamond or a spade to dummy for the first heart finesse.
Assuming that east unblocks the first club:
If declarer errantly discards a diamond at trick two: