Both vulnerable. North deals.


xA Q 6

uK J 7

vQ 10 9 6

wA Q 6


x9 5 4 3 x8

u8 u5 3 2

vK 7 5 4 vA J 8 3 2

w10 9 3 2 wK 8 7 5


xK J 10 7 2

uA Q 10 9 6 4


wJ 4

The bidding:


1v Pass 1u Pass

2NT Pass 3x Pass

4w Pass 4v Pass

4x Pass 5NT Pass

6w Pass 7u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Four of v

Study the diagram above. Which card was key to South’s success in bringing home the slam?

South showed the two-suited nature of his hand after North described a balanced hand of 18-19 points. With top honors in both of partner’s suits, North liked slam chances and indicated this with a cue-bid in clubs. Following two more cue-bids, South used the grand-slam force to probe for a top trump honor, and six clubs, by agreement, showed either the ace or king of hearts, the agreed trump suit by implication. South decided that was enough to contract for the grand slam.

Go to the head of the class if you selected the eight of hearts, followed by the seven, as the key to the grand slam. At worst, the slam depended on a club finesse, but matters improved rapidly. Declarer ruffed the opening diamond lead in hand and led the six of trumps to the knave, fetching the eight from West and making dummy’s seven high. The grand slam was now laydown on a dummy reversal.

Declarer ruffed a second diamond in hand, crossed to the king of hearts for a third diamond ruff and the ace of spades for a fourth ruff. Now, the ace of clubs was used as the entry to draw the last trump with the seven, declarer discarding the jack of clubs from the closed hand. South’s spades took the remaining tricks.

Note that, had West opened with a lead in any other suit, the 4-1 spade split would have proved fatal to the contract.

2013 Tribune Media Services

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.