# Stranded

### Hand of the Week

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ —
7 2
A K J 10 8 4 3
♣ Q 9 7 2
South
♠ K 9 6
A Q J
Q 7 6 5
♣ A 6 3
 West North East South 1♦ 2♠(1) 6♦ All Pass

(1) Weak

There are more scientific ways to approach the North hand, starting with a cuebid in spades.

Still, as a grand slam is unlikely, there is much to be said for just blasting 6. How do you plan to make this adventurous slam after West leads the 10?

View Solution

This deal was played nearly 20 years ago on Okbridge. Lidia Beech was South. The full deal:

North
♠ —
7 2
A K J 10 8 4 3
♣ Q 9 7 2
West
♠ A Q J 8 5 3
10 6
2
♣ J 10 5 4
East
♠ 10 7 4 2
K 9 8 5 4 3
9
♣ K 8
South
♠ K 9 6
A Q J
Q 7 6 5
♣ A 6 3

Any discard from dummy on the third heart is worthless, so it may appear that the slam depends upon finding West with the ♣K. Lidia had a better idea, setting out to play the deal along elimination lines. She ruffed a spade at trick two, led the J to her queen, and ruffed a second spade with the A. A trump to the 7 permitted a third spade ruff, eliminating that suit. Next she cashed the A and ruffed the Q, removing that major from the North-South hands.

West had shown up with 2-1 in the red suits, so he was credited with an original 6=2=1=4 distribution, making the contract 100%! Lidia played clubs in the normal way – ace and a club to the 10 and queen. After East won the ♣ K, there was a pause because East had started with only two clubs and was forced to give a ruff-and-discard. Lidia’s club loser was thrown and the ruff taken in dummy, so 12 tricks were made.

If West had turned up with four or more cards in the red suits, Lidia would have led a low club towards dummy’s queen without cashing the ♣A first. With West holding the ♠A and probably the ♠Q J as well, he would be unlikely to have the ♣K, too. Lidia’s idea was to cover West’s card, hoping East began with ♣K J x (x), ♣K 10 x (x) or ♣K J 10 (x).

Even if West would never play the ♣K when holding it, this plan offers better than a 50% chance of making the contract. When East wins his club trick from such a holding he is endplayed, forced to concede a ruff-and-discard or lead away from the ♣K (or the ♣10 or ♣J when West plays the ♣J or ♣10 on the first round of clubs).