Love all; dealer South


4Q 7

!Q 5

#K Q 8 3

2Q 10 7 6 4

West East

4K 5 4 2 4J 10 9 8 6

!K J 9 3 !10 8 7 4 2

#6 5 2 #9 7

25 2 29


4A 3

!A 6

#A J 10 4

2A K J 8 3

It is often difficult to reach games or slams based on a minor suit fit when one of the partnership has opened with a no-trump bid. This was a case from a recent match where both Souths, reasonably enough, chose to open 2NT.

One North, who had the necessary machinery, responded 34 suggesting "mild slam interest, with at least nine cards in the minor suits". (It must be wonderful when, every 10 years or so, you get the right hand and both partners remember the arrangement.) Anyhow, they now bid to a very reasonable 62.

The duplication in distribution, after a passive trump lead, was infuriating, but the hand played itself. After drawing trumps and cashing the diamond winners, declarer played off the ace and another spade. It was all over: West, on lead, had to concede a ruff and discard or lead a heart away from his king. Well satisfied, North-South chalked up their 920 points.

At the other table, with considerably less subtlety, North-South bid 2NT - 4NT; 6NT. This time, West led a passive diamond and declarer rattled off his nine minor suit winners. West, who could see problems looming and knew that he was in trouble, intelligently bared his king of spades to leave himself with 4K, !K,J,3. Now, if South had misread the position and placed the ace and another heart, West would have had two tricks. To the defenders' irritation, South preferred to play off 4A first and was now able to claim when the king fell.

"It took super-science to lose two imps on this deal," remarked the solitary kibitzer. The team were not amused.