BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
My partner, who had only just been introduced to the joys of Roman Key Card Blackwood, was perhaps too eager to put the machinery into action on this deal.

As North, I opened One Heart (promising at least a five-card suit) and South lost no time in leaping to Four No-trumps. I dutifully responded Five Spades, showing two of the five "aces" and the queen of hearts, which seemed to be the agreed suit. Partner pushed on with Five No-trumps, asking for any additional feature; my next bid of Six Diamonds (showing the King) was music to South's ears, and he leapt to Seven No-trumps.

West led his singleton club against the grand slam. Then South considered his prospects. There were 13 tricks if the hearts broke 3-3; if they failed to behave, but there were four diamond tricks, it was also possible that one opponent guarded both major suits.

There was another possibility - declarer cashed a second top club, on which West had an easy spade discard, crossed to dummy with the king of diamonds, and cashed the ace of clubs, discarding a spade. West aged visibly - he was caught in a repeating squeeze. If he discarded from either major, and then parted with a diamond, three more rounds of the suit would squeeze him again. It would all be over.

"Very well bid and played!" was my comment - what else could I say?

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