Safe Play

Goren Bridge


Bob Jones

Dlr: North ♠ A
Vul: E-W A 10 9
A Q 10 8 7 6 2
♣ K 9
♠ 10 6 3 ♠ K Q J 9 5
8 7 4 3 6
3 K J 4
♣ J 8 7 5 2 ♣ Q 10 4 3
♠ 8 7 4 2
K Q J 5 2
9 5
♣ A 6
North East South West
1 1♠ 2 Pass
4NT Pass 5♠* Pass
5NT Pass 6** All Pass

*Two “key cards,” among the four aces and the K, plus the Q
**No side kings
Opening lead: ♠6

North’s 5NT bid was a grand slam try, promising that his side held all of the aces, plus the king and queen of trumps. West knew that the lead of his singleton was pointless, and might even point declarer to a winning line, so he chose the neutral &spades6 as his lead.

Success was dependent on setting up dummy’s diamond suit. South’s first move was to cash the A to make sure that the trumps were not splitting 5-0. Should that have been the case, declarer would have had to stake everything on the diamond finesse. When both opponents followed to the first trump, South continued by cashing the A and leading another diamond.

East won with his jack and led a high spade, forcing dummy to ruff. No other defense would have been better. Declarer ruffed in dummy and cashed dummy’s 10. A diamond was ruffed high, establishing the suit, and South drew the outstanding trumps. Dummy was high and the defense surrendered.

Note how important it was to play the diamonds properly. Had South crossed to his hand with the ♣A and taken the diamond finesse, instead, East could have defeated the contract by simply winning his king and leading a club to dummy’s king. There would have been no late entry to enjoy the diamonds. Nicely played!