The Extra Chance
(Page of 4)

When playing a hand at bridge, it is very easy to simplify matters. One sees that the contract will make if something obvious works correctly e.g. "If the spade finesse works I'l make it.". However on many hands there are some successful distributions of relatively small probability but, when they do occur, do not affect the main line. These are basically 'extra chances' and good players will automatically look out for them.

North
AQ84
AKQ843
542
South
103
J1076
A10
AQ852
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

North forces with 2 and on hearing support, a cue bidding sequence ends up in 6

Plan the play on the Q lead.

North
AQ84
AKQ843
542
South
103
J1076
A10
AQ852
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

A simple count gives 9 tricks - 1 Spade, 6 Hearts and the two minor suit aces. The two small spades in the North hand can be ruffed, so if the Spade finesse works the slam is virtually assured.

The problem is: if the spade finesse fails then opponents will cash a diamond for one down.

However there is an extra chance that can be taken before the spade finesse.

North
AQ84
AKQ843
542
South
103
J1076
A10
AQ852
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

The extra chance is that the King of clubs might come down. With 8 cards outstanding it is not a great chance, but certainly one to invest in. You have 3 entries (A and JT), so it is certainly worthwhile trying this - if it doesn't work then there is still the spade finesse. The only thing to be careful is an over-ruff, so some of the clubs must be ruffed high.

West
652
2
K86
1097643
North
AQ84
AKQ843
542
East
KJ97
95
QJ973
KJ
South
103
J1076
A10
AQ852
W
N
E
S

P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
5
P
6
?
D

As can be seen, in this case playing initially on clubs enabled the 2nd diamond in the North hand to be discarded (The 1st went on the A).

Simple when you see it - but at the club only one out of 8 declarers made 12 tricks.