9 After winning the club queen, lead to your spade ace, then return to dummy for a second spade lead—10. Take a deep finesse against the spade jack on your first trump lead—6. Take a simple finesse against the king on your first spade lead—3.
You don't mind giving up one trump trick if it will enable you to avoid losing two. Cashing the ace of spades, then leading the next spade from dummy eliminates guesses and wins against all the combinations you can cope with; at the same time it also eliminates the danger of a club ruff. Add a bonus of one point if, after cashing the ace of spades, you went to dummy by ruffing a good diamond—your safest play to avoid any possibility of a ruff.
10 Will the opening diamond, draw trumps, cash your remaining diamonds, then lead toward the 10 of hearts—10. Lead toward the heart 10 immediately after drawing trumps, then repeat the finesse with the heart jack later—4. Draw trumps and lead to the heart 10; if the finesse loses, take the spade finesse later—1.
The top award is for a sure thing. If West plays an honor when you lead a heart toward dummy, you take the ace and surrender a heart trick, establishing a discard that makes the spade finesse unnecessary. If West plays low on the first heart and East wins, whatever he returns will give you your 12th trick. As for the second and third choices, there is a 75% chance of your finding at least one of the two missing heart honors in the West hand and only a 50% chance that West will have started with the king of spades.
11 Play the 4 of hearts from dummy and win with the ace then overtake the club king with the ace in dummy and continue clubs—10. Go up with the queen or jack of hearts and. if it wins, lead the 9 of diamonds for a finesse—2.
The first choice preserves an entry to dummy (on the third round of hearts) and ensures nine tricks, although if Hast wins the queen of clubs and returns a low spade, you must put on the jack or 10. The defenders then cannot take more than one trick in each suit before you make five clubs, two hearts and the diamond and spade aces for your contract. The alternate line gets a little credit in case, by some miracle, the diamonds arc favorably located and West happens to be continuously end played and is eventually forced to give you nine tricks and your game.
12 Lead to your ace of spades, then play another spade—10. Take two spade finesses—4. Take one spade finesse, then cash the spade ace—1.
Ordinarily, taking two finesses offers a 75% chance of success. In this case, however, you are threatened with a possible heart ruff and should reject the percentage play in spades in order to avoid the greater danger. (If East has made a diabolical false-card with two or more hearts and K Qx in spades, he has earned his victory.) Taking one spade finesse, then cashing the ace wins only against the king-queen doubleton in the West hand and fails in the cases where he holds the king or queen alone. Still, if you chose to lead the 10 of spades from dummy, intending to go up with the ace anyway but hoping East might foolishly cover with K Qx, you have earned a Christmas one-point bonus award.