I began the new year with a family trip to Tampa for six days of bridge at the All Southern Regional. When todays deal arose in the Open Pairs, I was partnered with my 14-year-old son Richie and one of our opponents happened to be my wife Mabel. Mother and son enjoy their bridge rivalry and relish the opportunity to play against one another, so it was no surprise when the final contract was doubled.
Richie, South, began with a borderline opening bid and Wests two diamonds showed five cards in each major (known as a Michaels cue-bid). This suppressed my desire to bid hearts, so I doubled to show a good hand. Mabel, East, bid her better major and South with youthful abandon repeated his diamonds (having opened such a minimum hand, he should have passed). Somehow I thought we had a slam and proceeded to six diamonds via Blackwood. East did not think we had a slam and promptly stated her opinion.
After the spade queen lead to the ace and a club return, the five-zero trump break proved to be too much for the 14-year-old to handle and the slam was down one score this round for Mother.
Interestingly, the contract can be made with exacting play: Win the club return in dummy (queen-king-ace) and lead a low diamond to the eight. Cash the spade king (discarding a heart), finesse the heart queen, and lead the heart ace. Assuming East discards a spade, South does also (if East ruffs, South overruffs and the contract is still makable). Lead another low diamond to the nine and cash the remaining club winners ending in dummy. Ruff a heart then ruff your last spade with the diamond king.
At this point you are left with the ace-jack of diamonds and must win the last two tricks with the lead in dummy.
© 1985 Richard Pavlicek