Neither vulnerable. South deals.


xQ 10 6 4 2

uQ 9

vA K 4

wK 5 2


x9 8 x5 3

uK J 10 8 7 u4 3 2

v9 vQ J 8 7 6 5 3

wQ 9 8 7 6 w10


xA K J 7

uA 6 5

v10 2

wA J 4 3

The bidding:


1NT Pass 2u Pass

3x Pass 4NT Pass

5v Pass 6x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Nine of x

How do experts seem magically to work out the distribution of the opposing cards? Consider this deal from a recent European Team Championship.

North’s two hearts was a transfer to spades, and South’s jump response showed a maximum notrump with good spades. The response to Blackwood showed four aces — the king of trumps counted as a fifth ace — and the good spade slam was reached.

West led a trump, won in the closed hand, and declarer drew a second round. Next came the ace and king of diamonds and a diamond ruffed high. On these tricks West discarded a club and a heart. Declarer now knew all that was necessary to virtually guarantee the slam. Do you?

West, who held only three cards in spades and diamonds, had to hold at least five clubs — with six or more hearts, West would never have parted with a club. So declarer ran all of dummy’s trumps, coming down to the ace of hearts and four clubs in hand. West had to hold on to four clubs (otherwise declarer simply cashes the king of clubs and concedes a club), so the defender is forced down to only one heart.

Declarer next cashes the ace of hearts. On this lie of the cards, that fells the king, so dummy’s queen becomes the fulfilling trick. But had the monarch not appeared, declarer would simply have crossed to the king of clubs and ducked a club to West, scoring the last two tricks with the ace-jack of clubs on West’s forced club return.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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