South is on lead and needs two more tricks. If he takes the spade finesse (or cashes the ace and leads the queen), East will win the king and cash the heart ace. Instead, declarer should "endplay" East by leading a heart. Upon winning the ace, East is forced to lead away from his
North-South manage to bypass 3NT and reach the small slam in diamonds. West's opening lead is the 9, won by South. Two rounds of diamonds draw the missing turmps.
Given East's opening bid, South should realize that the spade finesse will probably fail. The good news is that West's 9 suggests a doubleton, so East can possibly be thrown in with a heart later. Accordingly, South eliminates clubs by playing three rounds (ruffing the third in hand). After seeing East show out on the third round, South knows that East's original distribution was either 4-6-1-2 or 3-7-1-2.
Next, South rattles off his remaining trumps. On the last diamond, the situation is:
When South leads the 2, East discards the
An endplay can also force a defender to concede a ruff and sluff, as in the following hand.
South reaches 4. West tries the lead of the
South might draw trumps and attempt two club finesses, bemoaning his luck when West produces both the king and jack. However, a better line is available. At trick 4, South cashes the
Now South crosses to dummy's
Helen Sobel Smith, perhaps the greatest woman player ever, had this to say about her first endplay:
"I was declarer in a 6 contract, doubled by my right hand opponent. He had actually turned up with the QJT of trumps - I had cashed the ace and king - and I was disconsolately sure that he would turn up with the king of hearts, over dummy's ace-queen.
"Simply to delay the awful end as long as possible, I gathered in my tricks in diamonds; then (hoping my partner would not be too disagreeable about my slam bid), I was just about to take the necessary heart finesse when the Vision Appeared!
"I led a trump. East was 'in', and his forced heart return, to dummy's tenace, made me tingle with delight and self-appreciation.
"That, so far I was concerned was the Birth of the End Play (perhaps it's needless to say I hadn't been playing bridge very long)." 1
1 Sobel, Helen (1950). Winning Bridge.
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