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Game all; dealer North


4K J 10

!A 10 6 5

#A K 9 7 3


West East

49 8 5 4 4Q 2

!8 2 !K 3

#6 5 #Q J 10 2

2K J 9 7 6 210 5 4 3 2


4A 7 6 3

!Q J 9 7 4

#8 4

2Q 8

This was an interesting slam hand from a big invitation pairs event in the Hague this year. Cover up the East-West cards and plan the play in Six Hearts after a club lead.

North opened One Diamond, South responded with One Heart and North "splintered" with Four Clubs, showing a good raise to game in hearts with a club shortage. This incited South to show his ace of spades and the final contract was Six Hearts.

West led a low club and declarer faced possible losers in both major suits. You would be in good company if you went down, for the popular play was to rely on one of two finesses or a kindly break in daimonds. After crossing to hand with the ace of spades, declarer ran the queen of hearts unsuccessfully. He won the trump return and tested the diamonds. When they proved to be 4-2, there was no hope of discarding two spades and eventually South took a second losing finesse.

Only Michael Rosenberg got home. He started with two top diamonds and ruffed a diamond high in hand. Then he trumped a club in dummy and ruffed another diamond high. It seemed clear that the trump finesse was wrong, so he followed with the ace and another heart. This left East on lead, forced to concede a ruff and discard or lead a spade.

Well it worked, but I still think the other (losing) line offered better chances.