Article 7H81 Main

An Extra Chance

 by Richard Pavlicek

Slam was reached on this deal from a recent practice session. North’s 3 H bid was a Jacoby transfer, and the subsequent raise to 4 S showed slam interest. (To sign off in 4 S North would use a Texas transfer instead.) As South I liked my hand so I checked for key cards with Blackwood and bid the slam.

East dealsS J 10 9 8 4 2WestNorthEastSouth
Both vulH 7Pass2 C
D 8 6 5 2Pass2 DPass2 NT
C A 7Pass3 HPass3 S
S KTableS 6 5 3Pass4 SPass4 NT
H Q 8 6 4H J 5 3 2Pass5 DPass6 S
D Q J 9D 7 4 3All Pass
C Q 10 9 5 3C J 6 2
S A Q 7
H A K 10 9
D A K 10
6 S SouthC K 8 4

West chose a deceptive lead of the D J, figuring it would not matter to his partner. I was suspicious of this as I won the ace, but I surely would have played East for the D Q if I needed it.

With 11 easy tricks the contract appeared to depend on a finesse in spades or diamonds, but there was an extra chance. I cashed the C A-K then ruffed a club with the S 8. Next came the S J for a finesse, losing to West. (Yes, I lose to singleton kings too.)

The elimination play in clubs now paid off as West faced an awkward predicament. In practice he led a low heart to the jack, ace; then I drew trumps, cashed the H K and led the H 10 which West covered and I ruffed. This set up the H 9 as my 12th trick.

Curiously, there was one safe lead by West when he won the S K. Do you see it? It’s a very unusual play. To beat the contract he must lead the H Q!

Article 7H81 MainTop An Extra Chance

© 1998 Richard Pavlicek