Bridge

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East was congratulating himself on his smooth play in defence which had persuaded declarer to take an early wrong view, but his triumph was short-lived when South was able to stage a neat recovery.

South opened 2NT (his hand was close to a 22 opening to be followed by 2NT) and, after a fruitless Stayman inquiry of 32, North raised quantitatively to 4NT. With quite a bit in reserve, South was able to go on to the small slam in no-trumps, still keeping his diamond length concealed.

West led !J against Six No-trumps and declarer won on the table. He followed with a diamond and East played the seven without apparent interest. Considering the diamond suit in isolation, finessing the jack gains only if East holds K,Q,x while trying the nine works better if East has started with either K,10,x or Q,10,x - clearly a better bet. So South put in the nine and East was delighted to see his partner score a trick with the 10.

The diamond suit was dead, but declarer was not! He won the heart return, carefully cashed his remaining heart (throwing a spade from dummy), then ran five club tricks, having overtaken the jack on the table.

East might still have got away with it if he had again played smoothly to the last club, but his agitation clearly showed when he had to make his final discard from 4Q,10,9 #K,Q. At this point, dummy held 4K,J,8 #6, and declarer 4A,4 #A,J,8. An untroubled 49, yes; an agonised one, no. When the spade finally appeared, declarer had no trouble in dropping the queen and claiming his slam.

Game all; dealer South

North

4K J 8 3

!Q 4

#6 2

2K Q 10 8 3

West East

47 6 5 4Q 10 9 2

!J 10 9 7 3 !8 5 2

#10 5 #K Q 7

29 7 2 26 5 4

South

4A 4

!A K 6

#A J 9 8 4 3

2A J

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