4K 8 4
!7 6 3
#A J 8 3 2
4J 7 6 4Q 10 9 3 2
!K 8 2 !Q 9
#K 6 5 #Q 10 7 4
2J 8 6 4 29 3
!A J 10 5 4
2A K 10 7 5
THE REWARDS for bidding and making slams are high and many more seem to be bid these days at top level than ever before. Quite often there is an opening lead that can break a slam, but the leader is at a disadvantage in that he can only see 13 cards, not 26. Here it was at trick two that the vigilant East found the card to defeat this slam.
When this board came up in the semi-final stage of a World Championship, the contract was Four Hearts at three tables.
Whether it was a diamond or spade that was led, the play posed no problems. The declarers won in dummy then finessed the ten of hearts, losing to the king. When they played a second round of trumps and the queen fell under the ace they were able to test the clubs and ruff the fourth round in dummy before drawing the last trump, and, with East being unable to overruff, 12 tricks were made.
At the fourth table, however, Poland had climbed to Six Hearts. West led a small diamond, which declarer won in dummy. Then he played a small trump, on which the French East contributed the queen!
Now the slam was doomed to failure. If South takes this trick and plays the jack of hearts to West's king, West will return his third heart, thereby denuding dummy of trumps.
Alternatively, if he takes the trick and plays on clubs immediately, while there are still trumps remaining in dummy, the fourth round of clubs will be overruffed by East's nine.