Both vulnerable. South deals.


xJ 8 4 2


vA K Q J 7 4

wJ 8 6


x9 7 6 5 xQ

uK Q J 6 5 uA 9 8 4 2

v8 2 v9 6 3

wK 7 w10 5 4 3


xA K 10 3

u10 7 3

v10 5

wA Q 9 2

The bidding:


1w Pass 1v Pass

1x Pass 4u Pass

5x Pass 6x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of u

There is a definition of a pessimist that appeals to us: A person who has spent some time with an optimist. It is all very well to gaze at the world through rose-colored spectacles, but at the bridge table it is better to prepare for the worst. Consider this deal.

North’s jump to four hearts is a splinter bid, showing values for a raise to game with either a singleton or void in the bid suit. That improved the value of the South hand considerably, so South invited slam by jumping to five spades. Since South did not cue-bid hearts, North knew there were no wasted values there and proceeded to slam.

West led the king of hearts, ruffed on the table. The jack of trumps was covered with the queen and taken with the king. When East discarded a heart on the second spade, declarer was in trouble. Eventually, South conceded a trump and a club for down one.

Had South allowed for Murphy’s Law (if anything can go wrong, it will!), the slam could have been made — it requires no convoluted play or thinking. All declarer has to do is allow the queen of spades to win the second trick. There are still trumps in dummy to control hearts, and declarer can win any return, spurning the finesse, if West switches to a club, trump a heart on the table, draw trumps and run the diamonds for 12 tricks.

2012 Tribune Media Services

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