Bridge: Dealing with riddles

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The Independent Culture
A RIDDLE - why was declarer irritated, despite making a vulnerable grand slam in no-trumps with a neat double squeeze?

Game all; dealer South


A K Q 6

6 3

A J 7

Q 10 5 3


J 10 9 8 5

9 2

10 8 6 4

9 6


4 2

J 10 8 5

Q 9 5 3

8 4 2


7 3

A K Q 7 4

K 2

A K J 7

With an awkward opening bid, South chose to start with a slightly off-beat Two No- trumps. An excited North ascertained, via Gerber, that his partner held two aces and three kings, and plunged to Seven No-trumps.

West led the jack of spades against Seven No-trumps. Declarer started by testing the hearts, only to find that East guarded the suit. Next came two more top spades, discarding a heart from hand, to leave West in sole control of the suit. South saw that when he cashed his club tricks, neither opponent would be able to hold on to three diamonds and the queen would be bound to fall.

It did not go quite like that. First, South cashed the king of diamonds and played the jack from the table - an apparently pointless, but cost- nothing play. Then he played off his clubs, ending in hand. West came down to 10s 10d, dummy to A 7d, and East had to discard from Jh Q 9d. He threw the jack of hearts, and South made the last two tricks with the seven of hearts and the ace of diamonds.

Why was South cross? It is a Danish tradition that if declarer wins the last trick with the seven of diamonds, all his team-mates have to buy him a drink. Now you can see the point of following suit with the jack of diamonds and preserving the valuable seven.