Slow It Down

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

(1) 12-14
(2) 6+ spades, slam try
(3) No side king

After you showed controls in clubs and hearts, your partner used Roman Key Card Blackwood to confirm that your side held of all the key cards and the ♠Q. When you denied the only missing king (hearts), partner inferred that you must have at least one of the missing queens to make up your opening bid. With all that information he put you in the grand slam. How will you make it after West leads the K.

Solution

Declarer won the opening lead with the A, cashed the ♠Q and played a spade to dummy’s ace. East discarded a heart and declarer discovered that the contract could no longer be made.

Declarer moaned and muttered, “What rotten luck.”

After looking at South’s hand, North said, “What was the rush to test the spades? After winning the first trick, you should cash dummy’s minor-suit winners and return to hand with a low spade to the queen. Then, after cashing the Q, the ♣A and ♣Q, there are only three cards remaining. West needs to keep three spades and a heart winner, an impossible task. In actual
play, West would discard the Q and J because East may hold the 10. So, in that eventuality, you would then take the last three tricks with the 10 and the top two spades. You would make three spades, two hearts and eight tricks in the minors.” The full deal:

Dlr: South ♠ A K 9 8 3 2
Vul: E-W 8 2
A K J
♣ K J
♠ J 10 7 4 ♠ 5
K Q J 9 7 6 5 3
8 3 10 9 7 6
♣ 10 9 2 ♣ 8 7 43
♠ Q 6
A 10 4
Q 5 4 2
♣ A Q 6 5