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Handle with Care

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

After your strong jump shift of 2 and partner’s raise to 3, cue bidding and an inquiry from partner about key cards, the 5NT bid asked about kings. Your response showed the ♣K. That was enough for North to put you in the grand slam.(you had already shown one or four key cards (aces and the trump king). West gets off to the lead of the 9. What is your plan for taking all the tricks?

Click for Solution

This deal was played in a team game between your experienced team and one made up of less-experienced players. The auction shown is the one you and your partner had. The lead was the same at both tables: the 9. The less-experienced declarer took this with dummy’s queen and followed this by drawing the rest of the outstanding trumps with his ace and king. Next, he cashed dummy’s A and K. When the suit proved to be 4-1, declarer had to concede a trick to the defenders.

The more-experienced declarer played the first three tricks identically, but instead of tackling diamonds, he played two more rounds of trumps, discarding a diamond from dummy. It was only after cashing the ♠A and the ♣A and ♣K that he took the A and K. If the diamond suit had been 3-2, he would have cashed the Q and ruffed a spade back to hand to take the last trick with a diamond. As East had kept two diamonds, there was no point in following that plan. Instead, declarer led the ♠8 from dummy and, since East had been forced to pitch three spades and two clubs on the trumps, his ♠K was now bare. Declarer ruffed away East’s ♠K and took the last two tricks with dummy’s Q and ♠Q. The full deal:

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