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Extra Chances

Dlr:
South
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ J
A K 9 8 7 6 5 2
♣ J 8 7 2
South
♠ A 10 9 5 3
A J 6
Q 10
♣ A 10 9
West North East South
1NT
Pass 3♣ Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 6
All Pass

After his 3♣ bid – transferring to diamonds, North’s bid of 4 was a mild slam-try (eight-card suits tend to encourage such actions). You accept the invitation by bidding 6. The opening lead is the K. What is your plan for bringing this slam home?

Solution

Declarer could count 11 tricks: eight in trumps plus the three aces. He saw that if East held at least one of the missing club honors, the slam would come home via a double finesse in that suit. However, declarer looked for an extra chance. He discarded the ♠J from dummy on the K and won the trick in hand with the ace. Declarer ruffed a low spade, then cashed the A and Q. After throwing a low club on the ♠A, declarer ruffed another spade. The extra chance of the ♠K and ♠Q falling in three rounds had failed to materialize, but another one had. When declarer continued with a low club to the 9, West took this with the queen, but was endplayed – West had just hearts and clubs remaining. Hoping for the best, West continued with a low heart. Declarer discarded a club from dummy and won the trick with the J: now he had his 12th trick and his contract. Note that if West had started with four spades, he would have been just as endplayed. On a spade exit, declarer would ruff in dummy and take his 12th trick with the 13th spade. The full deal:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ J
A K 9 8 7 6 5 2
♣ J 8 7 2
West
♠ K 4 2
K Q 10 7
J 3
♣ K Q 5 3
East
♠ Q 8 7 6
9 8 5 4 3 2
4
♣ 6 4
South
♠ A 10 9 5 3
A J 6
Q 10
♣ A 10 9