Two Interesting Slams

//Two Interesting Slams

Martine Lacroix of Montreal, sitting West, scored a plus on this deal when declarer took a losing heart defense. The deal intrigued him – he wondered if anyone made the grand slam without benefit of a defensive mistake.

Dlr: East   Vul: Both

S 8 4
H Q J 7 4
D A Q 8 6
S 10 6 5 3
H K 10 6
D 9 4
C 9 6 5 3
S J 9 7
H 9 8 5 3
D 10 7 5 2
C 10 2
S A K Q 2
H A 2
D K J 3
C A 8 7 4


Pass7NTAll Pass

He discovered that only one player — Roy Baughman (royman), found the correct line — a Vienna Coup.

Roy won the opening spade lead, cashed dummy’s high clubs and crossed back to his hand with the DK. He then made the key play – he cashed the HA. Having set the stage, he went back to dummy to cash the remaining diamonds. On the last diamond, he discarded his small heart, but West was squeezed. West had to keep three spades to cover declarer’s spades, and he had to keep the HK because dummy still had the queen. But he had to throw something away. A neat plus +2220 for Roy.

On our next deal, Tinmarin knew from the bidding that his side had 10 spades, but he made the unusual decision of bidding 3NT instead of 4S. It’s easier to take nine tricks than ten, so they say.

Dlr: North   Vul: N-S   IMPs

S Q 10 9 7 5 2
H Q 7
D 4 3
C Q 9 8
S 3
H K 10 4 2
D A K 10 2
C K J 10 6
S A 8
H 9 6 5 3
D 9 8 7 5
C 5 4 3
S K J 6 4
H A J 8
D Q J 6
C A 7 2


Pass3NTAll pass
* Transfer to spades

Tinmarin was right about a 4S contract. There is little doubt that West would have started with a high diamond, and the defenders would wind up with four tricks for a one-trick set.

Against 3NT, it’s not all that easy for West to find the diamond lead. He actually led a club, and dummy’s queen held. Declarer drove out the SA. When East returned a club, declarer ducked and then won the third round of the suit.

On the run of the spades, West came down to H-K10 and D-AK while declarer kept H-AJ and D-QJ. When declarer called for a diamond, West was able to take his top diamonds but then was forced to lead into declarer’s heart tenace. Nine tricks and 10.39 IMPs. Right? Yes, but . . .

But maybe declarer should have been beaten on this line of play. West should read the situation when South discards a diamond on the last spade. If declarer has the heart tenace, then he is down to two diamonds, so all West has to do is keep three diamonds and throw away a heart.

If instead declarer sluffs a heart, he has bared his HA. So West must bare his HK and keep three diamonds. When West wins the first diamond, he returns a heart, end-playing declarer in diamonds.

Now it’s declarer’s turn to be alert. He knows it’s important not to leave West with an exit card, so he should lead a heart to his bare ace at trick 10. That drops West’s king. Now declarer can lead the DQ and West is fixed. He can take his two diamond tricks, but then he has to give declarer the last trick with the DJ.

About the Author:

Harold Schogger has just celebrated 40 years of bridge teaching. He opened his bridge club in Hendon London in 1983. Since 1997 he has devoted his time to teaching and directing.He holds the Professional Teachers’ Diploma from the English Bridge Union, and now trains teachers for the EBU. He is also a member of the International Bridge Press Association. Harold is the author of Practice Your Rule of 11 and the ebook Bridge for Winners.Harold has been an OKbridge member since 1997. You can see his valuable blog posts here under the category Bridge Hand Review. Harold is also a Premier Life Master.

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