Business Day - - THE BOTTOM LINE - Steve Becker

There’s ap­prox­i­mately one chance in 500,000 of be­ing dealt a hand con­tain­ing 30 high-card points. And so, any­time you see one in a book or a bridge col­umn, it’s very likely that the hand was com­posed by some­body, and not ac­tu­ally dealt.

That would cer­tainly be true of this deal, which was pub­lished as a dou­ble­dummy prob­lem in The Bridge World Mag­a­zine in the 1930s to il­lus­trate what was then called a quadru­ple trump grand coup.

Given East’s hold­ing of the Q-10-7-3 of trumps, mak­ing seven spades would seem to be an im­pos­si­ble task. But of course the deed can be done, or the hand would not be pre­sented here. If you would like to test your prob­lem-solv­ing skills first, as­sume West leads a club, and do not read past this point.

After tak­ing the club king, de­clarer next leads a heart and trumps it in­stead of do­ing what comes much more nat­u­rally, which would be to cash the trump ace at trick two. Cash­ing the ace of trumps would in­evitably prove fa­tal. If you don’t be­lieve it, try play­ing the ace at once and see what even­tu­ally hap­pens.

South next plays a di­a­mond to the queen, ruffs a sec­ond heart, then plays a di­a­mond to the king, ruffs a third heart, fol­lowed by a di­a­mond to the ace and an­other heart ruff. This re­duces de­clarer’s hand to five cards — a club and the K-J-9-8 of spades — while dummy has the ace of trumps, a low di­a­mond and the A-4-2 of clubs.

South then leads a club to the ace and re­turns a club, forc­ing East to ruff as de­clarer in turn over­ruffs. Next comes the nine of spades to the ace, fol­lowed by a di­a­mond or a club. East's last two cards, the Q10 of spades, then suc­cumb to the K-J to put the fi­nal touch on the ex­tremely rare

-- and in this case, con­trived

-- quadru­ple trump grand coup.

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