1. Unusual 2NT: at least 5-5 in the minors
2. Showing a limit raise or better in spades
After your 1♠* opener, West entered the auction with a bid of 2NT, which you didn’t mind considering the help you got in the play by knowing at least 10 of his cards. Your partner bid 3♦, the higher suit, to promise a limit raise or better in spades. Control bids followed, and your partner asked about key cards then bid the slam. West started with the *♣Q. Can you see a path to 12 tricks?
Declarer counted the usual 11 winners. The saving grace was that he knew that West would not enjoy the run of the major suits. After winning the first trick with the ♣A, declarer drew trumps in four rounds, throwing a low diamond from dummy. West threw two diamonds and a club. When declarer played a fifth trump, West threw a club, reducing to two hearts, three diamonds and two clubs.
Declarer then cashed the ♥A and ♥Q, revealing that West began with 1=2=5=5 shape and was left with 3=2 in the minors. A heart to dummy’s king drew a third discard from West. Declarer reacted to this by cashing dummy’s ♣K, reducing West to three diamonds only. Declarer called for dummy’s ♦J and ran it to West’s queen. Declarer made the last two tricks on the forced diamond return for his contract: He made eight tricks in the majors and four in the minors. Of course, West could not have done better by discarding a diamond on the ♥K. Declarer would simply play the ♦A and another diamond. West would win a diamond trick but dummy would take the last two tricks with the ♣K and the good ♦J. The full deal: