If you need a dozen, find that dozen

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Mignon McLaugh­lin, a jour­nal­ist and au­thor who died in 1983, said, “I’m glad I don’t have to ex­plain to a man from Mars why each day I set fire to dozens of lit­tle pieces of pa­per and then put them in my mouth.”

In­ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers tend to shy away from slams. But they are of­ten eas­ier to play than lower-level con­tracts be­cause you can af­ford to lose the lead at most once. It is usu­ally best to count your win­ners and hope you see a dozen, reg­u­lar or baker’s. When you are a trick or two shy, re­mem­ber the com­mon ways of gain­ing ex­tras: ruff­ing in the shorter trump hand or es­tab­lish­ing a long suit.

Which ap­plies in this deal? South is in six spades, and West leads the club two.

Of­ten it is bet­ter to open one di­a­mond with 4-4 in the mi­nors and min­i­mum open­ing strength. But here one club is prefer­able be­cause South has no re­bid prob­lem and it max­i­mizes the chance of find­ing a fit.

When South re­bid one spade, North did not stand on cer­e­mony, us­ing Black­wood, ei­ther tra­di­tional or Ro­man Key Card.

South sees 10 top tricks: four spades, two hearts and four clubs. Two more win­ners are read­ily avail­able via heart ruffs in hand.

De­clarer should take the open­ing lead, cash dummy’s heart ace, ruff a heart high (good tech­nique, even if un­nec­es­sary here), re­turn to dummy with a trump, ruff an­other heart high, draw trumps and claim.

This is a va­ri­ety of dummy re­ver­sal be­cause usu­ally you ruff losers in the dummy, not in hand — it is a re­ver­sal of the typ­i­cal tech­nique.

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