Both vulnerable. North deals.


xK Q 7 6

uA 9 4 2

vA Q 8 6 3



x9 3 2 x8 4

uK 10 5 uQ 8 7 3

v7 2 vJ 9 4

wA 9 8 7 6 wK Q J 10


xA J 10 5

uJ 6

vK 10 5

w5 4 3 2

The bidding:


1v Pass 1x Pass

4w Dbl 4v Pass

4u Pass 5x Pass

6w Pass 7x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Ace of w

If we seem to harp on counting at every opportunity, it is because it is the key to winning play on so many hands. Consider this deal.

Both players clearly bid up a storm on this hand. North’s jump to four clubs, showing shortness in the suit while agreeing spades as trumps, might be acceptable despite only 15 high-card points. The subsequent cue-bids of four hearts and six clubs to confirm a void, with nothing in reserve, however, were decidedly aggressive. Even with what appeared to be a magic fit, South’s leap to the grand slam was the overbid of the auction.

Since it was obvious the ace of clubs was not going to live, West should have led a trump, leaving declarer a trick short. Even after the actual salvo, declarer could count only 11 tricks. The only way to find two more was via club ruffs. To accomplish that, declarer would need three entries to hand, and only two were in sight. However, there was one possibility to gain access a third time.

Declarer ruffed the opening lead on the table and wasted no time in testing the lie of the cards. At trick two, declarer led a low diamond and, when East followed low, finessed the ten. When that held, 3-2 splits in both trumps and diamonds were all that declarer needed. A club was ruffed, the closed hand was re-entered with the king of diamonds for another club ruff. Since dummy still had a trump, declarer overtook with the ace to draw the outstanding trumps. Three more diamond tricks brought declarer’s total to 13. Just another routine grand slam!

2013 Tribune Media Services

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