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The Independent Culture
AN intriguing hand from rubber bridge at Desmond Deery's Marbella Bridge Club, and Paul Fenn was the hero as declarer. He opened One Heart with the South hand and West (playing weak jump overcalls) bid Two Diamonds. North tried Two Diamonds and dredged up a raise to Three Heart. That was enough for Paul who jumped to Six Heart. As East I was hopeful but passed in tempo.

West led +A against the slam. After ruffing, it was clear to declarer that he had problems. There was a spade loser, the clubs had to be established, and queen of trumps had to be picked up. He started with the three top clubs, discarding spades from dummy, and continued with a fourth club. When West discarded, it was safe to ruff low on the table. Next came another diamond, ruffed in hand, and a spade to the ace. A diamond followed (on which I threw my last spade) and declarer trumped.

Although the last club was now established, South continued by trumping it with dummy's _A and saw me, rather helplessly, under-ruffing. Finally, a fourth round of diamonds let declarer over-ruff me in hand. This left him with ]4 _KJ and it was not difficult to exit with a spade, forcing me to trump my partner's winner, and lead a trump. On the return Paul was able to finesse with complete confidence to land his slam.

It seemed tactless to suggest to my partner that if he had chosen ]K for his opening lead instead of +A, declarer would have been an entry short for his trump-reducing play, and we would have come to a trump trick as well as a spade ...