Both vulnerable. South deals.


xK J 9 2

u8 7


wK J 10 9 7 5


x10 4 3 x6 5

uK 9 4 2 u10 6

vK Q 10 9 7 vJ 8 6 5 4 2

w6 wQ 8 2


xA Q 8 7

uA Q J 5 3


wA 4 3

The bidding:


1u Pass 2w Pass

2x Pass 3x Pass

4w Pass 4v Pass

4u Pass 6x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of v

Those bridge rubrics you hear everyone quoting are all well and good and, in general, they hold true. But, in context of the hand as a whole, a different treatment might be required.

The auction was straightforward. South’s two-spade rebid showed extra values and, once spades had been agreed, both partners cue-bid their first-round controls and North decided that a slam would offer good play.

West led the king of diamonds, won perforce in dummy. Once trumps were found to break 3-2, declarer had to pick up either the queen of clubs or king of hearts to get home. Following the dictum of “eight ever nine never,” declarer cashed the ace and king of clubs and, when the queen of clubs did not drop, tried the heart finesse — down one.

Actually, as long as clubs were no worse than 3-1, there is a sure-trick line for the contract. After drawing trumps declarer should cash dummy’s king of clubs and return the knave. If her majesty appears, well and good. If not, declarer should take the finesse. As the cards lie, the finesse succeeds and the slam rolls home. But suppose that they are 2-2 and West wins the queen. The defender must either return a heart into declarer’s tenace or lead a diamond, allowing declarer to ruff in hand while discarding a heart from dummy. Declarer cashes the aces of clubs and hearts, enters dummy with a heart ruff and scores the rest of the tricks with good clubs.

Should East show out on the second club, the slam is still safe. Declarer rises with the ace of clubs and tucks West in with the queen, and the same endplay applies.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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