Freak Hand

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: South ♠ 10 9 7 6
Vul: None A 7
A Q J 10 9 4 2
♣ —
♠ — ♠ 5 4 2
K Q 9 6 5 4 3 10 8
K 7 6 5
♣ A K J 9 5 3 ♣ 10 7 6
♠ A K J 8 3
J 2
8 3
♣ Q 8 4 2
South West North East
1♠ 2♠* 3 Pass
4♠ 5♣ 6♠ All Pass

*Hearts and a minor, at least 5-5
Opening lead: ♣A

Today’s deal is from a competition in India some years ago. It was the talk of the tournament. North’s 3 bid, a cue bid of West’s known suit, showed a spade fit and at least invitational values. South’s jump to game over this bid strikes us as remarkable. Many would not open the bidding with this hand, much less accept an invitation. West was well within himself when he bid 5♣, identifying his minor suit and his “extra” distribution. In view of South’s bidding, North’s jump to slam was restrained. He might have investigated seven. Just as well that he didn’t — if South liked his hand after a game invitation, there’s no telling what he might have done after a grand slam invite.

What would you lead from the West hand? We think that most would choose the ace from their shorter suit rather than the king from their longer suit, but that was wrong on this deal. It took the lead of a heart honor to defeat the slam.

The play was simple after the club lead. South ruffed in dummy and ran the ♠7, followed by a spade to his jack. A diamond to dummy’s queen was next, and East had to take his king or lose it. South won the heart shift in dummy and drew the remaining trumps while discarding dummy’s last heart. Dummy was now high and South claimed his contract.