Click to follow
The Independent Online
This was an intriguing hand from the American trials to select teams for Peking. West (Chip Martel) had geared himself for a smooth false card, which would surely have succeeded, but missed a similar opportunity when declarer unexpectedly switched tracks.

West (Martel) opened 32, North passed, and East raised pre-emptively to 42, doubled by South. This would have cost 500 or 800 points, depending on the diamond guess, but North (aiming for higher things) bid 52 and South jumped to 6!.

West led the 2K against the slam. Declarer ruffed, drew trumps in two rounds ending in dummy and, effectively needing to play the diamonds for three tricks, chose to lead the 10 from the table. Martel was all ready to win this with his king if it was run round. Then declarer, misplacing the jack, would surely go wrong. (It would have done West no good to win in the normal way with his jack, for then South would be reduced to two successful finesses against the king.)

Martel was thrown when declarer played his queen on the 10. In the cold light of day, the almost identical play of letting the queen hold would surely have persuaded South to misplay the rest of the suit, but, caught off balance, West took his king. Again forced into the winning play, South took finesses against West's jack and so landed his slam.

East-West game; dealer West


48 7 5 3

!A 10 9 4 3

#A 10 9 7


West East

4J 2 4Q 10 6 4

!J !5 2

#K J 3 2 #8 4

2K Q J 10 7 2 28 6 5 4 3


4A K 9

!K Q 8 7 6

#Q 6 5

2A 9