Dare to be Great

Dlr:
South
Vul:
N-S
North
♠ A 10 9
6 5 4 2
A K Q J
♣ A 2
South
♠ K Q 6 4 3
A 9 7
Q8 5 4
♣ K 3
West North East South
1♠
2♠(1) 3 Pass 3♠
Pass 4♣ Pass 4
Pass 4NT Pass 5♠
Pass 6♠ All Pass

1. At least 5-5 in hearts and a minor

After West’s Michael cuebid, your partner’s bid of 3 promised a limit raise or better in spades. You rebid your suit to show your minimum opener, but after North showed club control, you cooperated with 4, a control-showing bid. North then applied Roman Key Card Blackwood and bid the slam after you showed two key cards and the ♠Q.

Solution

After winning the opening lead, Declarer counted 12 tricks as long as he could play the trumps without the loss of a trick. On that basis, declarer took the first trick with the A and led a low trump to dummy’s ace, thankful that West had followed. Then declarer led the ♠10 from dummy and, after East followed with a low card, had to decide whether to run this or play trumps from the top.

The decision was not close. Declarer placed West with at least 10 cards in hearts and a minor, most likely clubs. As the odds of West having one trump and two diamonds were much greater than two trumps and one diamond, declarer played a low trump from hand at trick three. An additional factor was that West might have led a singleton diamond, had he held one. Declarer was greatly relieved when West discarded a heart. Thanks to declarer’s astute analysis, he could claim 12 tricks: five trumps, a heart, four diamonds and two clubs. The full deal:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
N-S
North
♠ A 10 9
6 5 4 2
A K Q J
♣ A 2
West
♠ 7
K Q J 10 8
9 3
♣ Q J 10 9 5
East
♠ J 8 5 2
3
10 7 6 2
♣ 8 7 6 4
South
♠ K Q 6 4 3
A 9 7
Q8 5 4
♣ K 3