This is from yesterday's New York Post. North-South are playing at four spades. Vulnerable, they had bid 1 spade, 2 spades, 4 spades, no opposing bids. Here's the hand:
North (s) AQ9 (h) K63 (d) 854 (c) 7432 West East (s) 53 (s) 42 (h) JT97 (h) AQ852 (d) QT72 (d) 963 (c) Q98 (c) KT5 South (s) KJT876 (h) 4 (d) AKJ (c) AJ6
South has six easy trump tricks, two side aces and a king for an easy nine. The tenth trick will come from a finesse or end play into one of South's minor suit tenaces.
West leads the Jack of hearts, which East correctly overtakes with the Queen in order to lead a diamond to West's Queen. South intercepts with the King, and leads a trump to dummy in order to lead a low club. East covers with the King. All understandable so far. Here's where I think the narrative goes wrong, with a focus on the part in bold:
"South took the ace, led a trump to dummy, and returned a second club, five Jack, Queen. He ruffed the next heart, lost another club, and got to dummy with a trump to pitch his Jack of diamonds on the good club."
Doesn't South need to cover East's five of clubs with the six so that West wins with the nine? Then cover the T with the Jack on the third round so West wins with the queen? All to keep East off lead. Because otherwise, East wins on the third round and shoots another diamond through South.
The narrative also attributed South's difficulty to "good play" by the defenders. It's true that East played well, but it seems to me to be only "ordinarily" well.
My understanding is that the issue in the club distribution. For instance, if East has KQx of clubs instead of KT5, he has a forced win of a club, and the chance to take the minor finesse diamonds. Ditto if clubs split 4-2, and East has KQ. If clubs split 2-4, South can win only if West has KQ or KT so East doesn't get the lead.
Is my understanding correct?