North-South vulnerable. South deals.


xJ 5 2

uJ 4

vQ 9 6

wA K J 7 3


xQ 10 8 x7

uK Q 10 u9 8 6 5 2

vJ 8 5 vK 10 7 4 3 2

wQ 10 6 2 w5


xA K 9 6 4 3

uA 7 3


w9 8 4

The bidding:


1x Pass 2w Pass

2x Pass 4x Pass

6x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of u

It pays to bid aggressively when vulnerable — the rewards are worth it. But that applies only if you have the skill to handle difficult contracts.

Since North’s two-club response was forcing to game, as is the modern style, South could rebid two spades in comfort. After North showed support, South took a shot at slam in the hope of finding a slightly more suitable dummy.

West led the king of hearts, taken by declarer with the ace. The first problem was in the trump suit, and cashing the ace and king revealed that matters were desperate. Saddled with a trump loser, declarer had to avoid losing a heart and a club for the slam to succeed. But even if the club suit could be brought in without loss, that was only half the battle.

After considerable thought declarer found the way. Since two hearts would have to be discarded before West could ruff with the queen and cash the queen of hearts, that defender would have to hold four clubs as well. To protect against the possibility of East holding the singleton queen or ten, declarer next led the nine of clubs to the king.

When only low cards appeared, declarer returned to hand with the ace of diamonds and led the eight of clubs. West was a dead duck. If he followed low, declarer would run the eight as the only hope and then repeat the finesse. If West covered, declarer would win in dummy as cheaply as possible, return to hand with a diamond ruff and take another finesse to land the slam. Try it.

2012 Tribune Media Services

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