Both vulnerable. South deals.


x7 4 3 2

uA Q J

vK 6 4

wA K J


xQ J 9 xVoid

u10 8 3 uK 9 7 6 5 2

v7 5 3 vQ 9 8 2

w9 8 7 4 w6 5 3


xA K 10 8 6 5


vA J 10

wQ 10 2

The bidding:


1x Pass 3NT Pass

4v Pass 4u Pass

4x Pass 5w Pass

5u Pass 6x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Nine of w

An unfortunate trump break placed South’s excellent spade slam in jeopardy, However, declarer found a most elegant way to profit from misfortune.

North’s jump to three no trump showed a 4-3-3-3 distribution and 16-18 points. South launched into a cue-bidding sequence and soon landed in six spades.

Declarer won the club lead in dummy and led a trump, and discovered there was a sure loser in the suit. It seemed as if the contract hinged on a successful red-suit finesse, and both offered the option of which defender to play for the missing honor. The odds could be improved slightly by cashing the ace-king of diamonds in an attempt to drop the queen and, if her highness failed to appear, guess which way to take the heart finesse.

No declarer worth his or her salt likes to rely on a guess. Instead, South found a sure-trick line for the contract. After taking the two high trumps, declarer cashed the table’s ace of hearts and the remaining high clubs before exiting with a trump.

West did not enjoy the experience of being on lead after winning the third trump. A club lead would present declarer with a ruff-sluff to avoid a diamond loser, and a diamond lead would be into declarer’s tenace. But a heart lead was no better. If the lead was away from the king, one of dummy’s hearts would win and declarer’s diamond loser would be discarded. If East produced the king, declarer would ruff, cross to the king of diamonds and discard a diamond on dummy’s high heart honor. In all cases, the slam could not be defeated, even had the lead been a singleton.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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