Click to follow
THE SMALL slam in spades was a fair bet on this deal, but the trump break seemed to make South's task impossible. Never a player to give up lightly, decalrer set West a problem that he failed to solve.

North opened One Club, South responded One Spade, and South went straight to the slam. West led the jack of clubs against Six Spades and, after winning, declarer played off the two top trumps to reveal the loser in the suit. With no clear idea in mind, he led a third trump and noted that West (who had already thrown a club) brooded for a little before discarding the two of diamonds. After winning with his queen of trumps, East pushed through the nine of hearts.

At this point South could have settled for one off but, risking a larger loss, he won with the ace of hearts and played off his remaining trumps. On the first of these West threw the queen of hearts but, on the last, something vital had to go. In the vain hope that his partner held +10xx, West let a second diamond go and suddenly South had four tricks in the suit.

West should have got this one right. It was true that he was squeezed, but he knew that declarer now had only 10 top tricks. A club discard would give South an eleventh but, after that, West would be discarding after declarer (who has had to use the king of diamonds to reach the clubs) and nothing extra would materialise.

GAME ALL: dealer North


] A K 9 6

_ 7 4

+ K 8 3

[ A K Q 5

West East

] 3 ] Q 5 4

_ K Q 3 _ 9 8 6 5 2

+ Q J 7 2 + 10 9

[ J 10 9 8 7 [ 6 3 2


] J 10 8 7 2

_ A J 10

+ A 6 5 4

[ 4