Overcoming Bad News

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

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

Opening lead: ♣A
This was an excellent slam, needing only a 3-1 split in trumps to succeed. A 2-2 trump split would provide an easy overtrick. This was not to be, as South, quickly discovered when he ruffed the opening club lead and cashed the ace of trumps.
The only possibility was an end play against West. South would have to ruff two more clubs in his hand to get the ending that he wanted, so it was necessary that West started with three clubs. West’s required holding in the red suits was a different matter. South could handle it as long as West was 2-4, 3-3, or 4-2 in the red suits, but South had to guess which one. As two out of the three possible red suit holdings would have West holding at least three diamonds, South cashed the ace, king, and queen of diamonds. East showing out on the third diamond was helpful.
South ruffed a second club and crossed back to dummy with the A. He cashed the J and ruffed another club, then cashed the K. In this three-card ending, South had the ♠ K 9 and the Q. Dummy had the ♠ 10 8 and the ♣Q, and West had the ♠ Q J 5. South led the Q and West was finished. He could ruff high, but then had to lead away from his other trump honor and give South the last two tricks. Nicely done!

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