Bridge

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The Independent Culture
OPTIMISTIC bidding by South led to a distinctly adventurous grand slam on the deal below. The disappointing result reinforced the old adage, 'If you bid badly, you have to play well in order to recover.'

South opened Two Clubs and, after a positive response of Two Hearts by North, marked time in a game-forcing situation with Two No-trumps. However, when North rebid his hearts (strongly suggesting a six-card suit), South launched into the grand slam force of Five No-trumps, asking North to bid seven if he held two of the top three honours in the agreed suit (clearly hearts).

North obliged and South greedily converted to Seven No-trumps. It was all a bit wild, for even if there were six heart tricks, there were still only 12 sure winners. Matters brightened when West led the nine of spades and the appearance of East's king guaranteed four tricks in the suit. Now declarer could start planning to cater for a possible bad break in hearts.

South started by taking his top spades, then the ace of diamonds. The fall of the jack was significant, but West showed out on the next round. The hearts failed to divide and the last chance (finding the same defender with the heart guard and length in clubs) also proved a disappointment, and the grand slam failed.

Just suppose, after only one top diamond, declarer had cashed all his black suit winners before testing the hearts. Bad news as before, but by now West would have shown up with six clubs, five spades, one heart and therefore exactly one diamond. After cashing the ten of spades, the marked finesse of the ten of diamonds would have landed the 13th trick.

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