Main     Article 7H81 by Richard Pavlicek    

An Extra Chance

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.

6 S by South

Both Vul
S J 10 9 8 4 2
H 7
D 8 6 5 2
C A 7
S K
H Q 8 6 4
D Q J 9
C Q 10 9 5 3
TableS 6 5 3
H J 5 3 2
D 7 4 3
C J 6 2
Lead: D JS A Q 7
H A K 10 9
D A K 10
C K 8 4

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 D
3 H
4 S
5 D
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
2 NT
3 S
4 NT
6 S

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!

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© 1998 Richard Pavlicek