Bridge: Idea foiled by over-optimism

DECLARER had an excellent idea on this deal, one that might not have occurred to everyone, but he did not take it to its logical conclusion and so failed to make his optimistic slam contract.

Game all; dealer West


S 10 8

H 8 3

D A 6 5 3

C J 8 7 5 2


5 2

10 4 2

K J 10

A K 10 9 6


6 4 3

J 9 7 6

9 7 4

Q 4 3


A K Q J 9 7

A K Q 5

Q 8 2


West opened One Club and after two passes, South showed the strength of his hand with a cue-bid of Two Clubs. West doubled and North was able to suggest some values by calling Two Diamonds. With a completely worthless hand, he would have been free to pass over West's double. This excited South and the final contract was Six Spades.

West led the ace of clubs and declarer took stock. The opening bid suggested that it was West who held the king of diamonds as well as the top clubs, so one possibility was that the king was doubleton. However, if West held these cards, the setting for a squeeze was right. The timing, however, was not.

South neatly rectified the count by discarding a diamond. West switched to a trump and declarer won in hand, cashed two top hearts and ruffed a heart in dummy. Then he came back to hand with a club ruff and played off his remaining winners.

If West had started with all three top clubs as well as the king of diamonds, then - discarding in front of dummy - he would have been squeezed. As it was, he could leave his partner in charge of the clubs. South's slip lay in not winning the trump switch in dummy, and ruffing a club before playing on hearts. The play goes as before, but as East's queen of clubs has gone, West is in charge of both minor suits.