# Who needs HCP?

### Hand of the Week

Dlr:
East
VUL:
Both
North
♠ A 9 4
A 3 2
K 9 6 3
♣ 9 7 6

South
♠ 2
9 8
A 8 5
♣ A K 8 5 4 3 2

 West North East South Pass 2♣ 2♠ 3♣ 4♠ 5♣ Dbl Pass Pass 5♦ Dbl 6♣ Dbl All Pass

Conventional wisdom is that you need 30 or so high-card points to make a slam. This deal from the 2009 Venice Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil, shows that shape – and some luck – can often see you through. The deal was played between women’s teams from Germany and Sweden.

The odd-looking bidding is owing to the fact that apparently North forgot that 3♣ was supposed to show a diamond suit. When 5♣ was doubled, South thought trumps were breaking very badly, thus the 5 bid. On the lead of the ♠K, slam depends on a 3-3 diamond split. Do you see any way to make slam if West leads a heart?

### Solution

It might seem that a heart lead defeats 6♣, but look at the placement of the spades and diamonds.

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

On a heart lead, declarer wins the ace, plays two rounds of trumps then gives up a heart. West can win and most likely will play the ♠K – he can be virtually certain a second heart is not cashing – but declarer wins and runs trumps. This will be the position:

Dlr:
East
VUL:
Both
North
♠ 9
9–
K 9 6
♣ —
West
♠ Q
Q J 10
♣ —
East
♠ —
K J
7 4
♣ —
South
♠ —
A 8 5
♣ 5

Thanks to North’s two 9s (spades and diamonds), West must surrender on the lead of the ♣5. West is squeezed and declarer has 12 tricks – even sweeter if the contract was doubled.

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