This hand, from round 4 of the VCC Butler event held recently in Melbourne, caused a surprising amount of difficulty. Twenty- four pairs reached 3NT and were in no danger of bidding the slam. Nineteen pairs made 4NT which looks as though they made and refused a slam try. Ten pairs went off in 6N ( and one in 7N!). Four pairs failed in 6C and seven failed in 6D. Perhaps the lesson is that one should avoid all but the best slams when playing in a Butler since you rarely lose the full amount against the field average. Nonetheless, the slam is makeable. At my table the auction was as shown. The opening 1NT was 12- 15 which is not a method I like but one needs to humour partners. The 2NT rebid showed 14- 15 with no 4 card major or 5 card minor. 3C and 3D were natural and 4D was minorwood with West showing 2 aces and the QD. On the quiet lead of the 4D, declarer can see 4 trump tricks, 2 spades, 1 heart and 3 clubs.
Teams, Both vul, Dealer South
♣Thus, declarer needs to develop two tricks. The plan is to duck a heart and ruff the third round. Then, if clubs split 3- 3 there will be 12 tricks but there is an extra wrinkle. Declarer can win the opening lead, play AH, duck a heart and win the return with any card other than the KS. Now, declarer ruffs a heart and finishes trumps. The position shown is with South still to discard on the last trump.