Bridge: Hopes of defeating contract go West

INDIFFERENT bidding by South led to a wildly optimistic slam on this deal. It only succeeded because West missed two distinct chances (one excusably) of defeating the contract.

Love all; dealer South

North

7 3

A 8 6 4

K Q 9 3

7 4 2

West

A K 10 8 6 2

K 10 9

7 6 5

3

East

Q J 9 5 4

7 5 3

8 4

A 8 6

South

none

Q J 2

A J 10 2

K Q J 10 9 5

South opened One Club, West overcalled with one Spade and North doubled negatively, suggesting values in the red suits. East raised to Three Spades and South judged his hand worth a bid of Four Diamonds. North went on to Five Diamonds, although he had not been forced to bid, and South pushed on to Six Diamonds.

If you think about it, South's bidding meant that the hand could be played in either Four or Six Diamonds but never Five. You can sympathise with West's lead of the ace of spades rather than his singleton club (which would have defeated the contract out of hand).

Declarer ruffed the spade lead and, with very real problems of control, drew just two rounds of trumps ending in dummy and trumped a second spade in hand. Then he followed with the queen of hears and West covered with the king. Now it was all over - the last trump was drawn while South discarded his losing heart and all that remained to do was drive out the ace of clubs with the jack of hearts as an entry back to hand if East ducked twice.

West should have appreciated South's possible problems. If he refrains from covering the queen of hearts, declarer can neither conveniently reach dummy to draw the last trump, nor retain an entry to his hand for the long clubs.

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