# The Real Deal

This deal is from the 2009 United States Bridge Championship played in White Plains NY. You deal as South with both sides vulnerable, holding:
♠5     K Q J 9 5     A 9 8     ♣K Q 9 2
You open 1 and partner responds 1♠. Your rebid is easy: 2♣. Partner now bids 2, fourth-suit forcing to game. You can bid 2NT because you have diamonds stopped, but I prefer 3, which gives partner a nice picture of your hand. He will know you have five-plus hearts, four-plus clubs, at least three diamonds and, therefore, short spades.
This information helped us reach 6 (the rest of the auction involved Roman Keycard Blackwood). The opening lead is the ♠A, and you see:

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

The fact that you were short in spades was good news to partner — he knew that all of his cards were working.
After the ♠A, the defense continues spades and you ruff. What is your plan?
The only possible loser in your hand is the fourth round of clubs. If clubs split 3–3, you will have 12 easy tricks (unless hearts are 5–0, but that wouldn’t be fair). What if clubs are
4–2? You still might survive in one of two ways:

1. West has doubleton jack or doubleton 10 (or doubleton J–10). Then you can cash two top clubs and guess to finesse your ♣9.
2. Maybe one defender has only two hearts and two clubs; then you can draw only two rounds of trumps and ruff the fourth club in dummy.

I am just playing with you. This is one of those hands where you have to consider a dummy reversal.
What if you can ruff three spades in your hand? Now we’re talking. As long as there are no bad splits (especially 4–1 trumps), you will have 12 tricks regardless of how clubs behave. Furthermore, if you time it right, you can combine all your chances.
After ruffing the second round of spades, you lay down your K (all following) and then continue with a second heart to dummy. Why draw two rounds of trump if you are planning on reversing the dummy? Because if trumps are 4–1, you can’t ruff even one more spade in your hand — you would let the opponent with four trumps end up with more
trumps than you. If you find out hearts are 4–1, you will abandon the dummy reversal, draw trumps and hope the clubs produce four tricks. But, when everyone follows on the second heart trick, you are in business.
In dummy, you can ruff another spade in your hand. Then you cross to the ♣A and ruff dummy’s last low spade with your last trump. All that is left is to travel to dummy in diamonds
and draw their last trump. On that last trump, you throw away a low club and claim.
This is a textbook example of a dummy reversal with the added twist that you can change plans in midstream if the trumps don’t split. (In real life, I hate to say, trumps were 4–1 and clubs were 6–0 — the wrong way — so I had no chance to make my slam.) If I were dealing the cards, however, this would have been the Real Deal:

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

With this fairly normal layout, all plans fail other than the dummy reversal.