New Zealand Listener - - BOOKS & CULTURE - by David Bird

De­cid­ing against any quest for a grand slam, North raises you di­rectly to 6S. You win the heart lead in dummy and play the ace and king of trumps, East throw­ing a heart on the sec­ond round. What now? You can sur­vive a trump loser pro­vided you do not also lose a club. When East holds four clubs, the po­si­tion will be hope­less. What if West holds four clubs? You can­not hope to squeeze him in the mi­nor suits (iso­lat­ing the di­a­mond guard in his hand by ruff­ing a di­a­mond), be­cause, with four cards in both black suits, his shape will be 4-2-3-4 and East will then guard the di­a­monds. In­stead, you must at­tempt to catch West in an end­play. With­out play­ing any more trumps, test the clubs by play­ing the ace and king. If clubs break 3-2, you will lose just one trick, in trumps. When the cards lie as in the di­a­gram, East will show out on the sec­ond club. Con­tinue with the ace and king of di­a­monds, fol­lowed by a di­a­mond ruff. Cash your other top heart and West will be down to J-9 in each of the black suits. You throw him with the queen and an­other club and he will have to lead into your Q-10 trump tenace. Twelve tricks made! What will you say on the West cards? (An­swer on page 62.)

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