With Jack Stocken
Well done to Bradford’s Daniel Winter who won the Open pairs with Ben Norton at London’s Year End Congress.
Today’s hand from an online game sees declarer play with the odds to land a tricky slam. South’s rebid of 2NT promised 18 or 19 points which is common with tournament players. They play a 1NT rebid as 15 – 17 points. The reason being that a rebid of 3NT showing 19 points takes away an extra level of bidding space.
North didn’t quite have the necessary 33 points for 6NT but the strong 5-card spade suit was good compensation and this was an online game, so no prizes for second place.
West correctly led the ♥8 against 6NT, the safest lead possible – don’t lead away from an honour against 6NT, it is bad for your health.
With only ten top tricks, declarer needed to garner two more and the only chance was the spade suit but how best to play the suit for one loser? It was clear to lay down the Ace of spades first but what next.
If spades are 3 – 3 then it is a pure guess as to who has the King although declarer should reason that West is slightly more likely to have the King as otherwise they might have led a spade without holding the King.
Note that an experienced West with Kxx would certainly play low in tempo on the second spade trick, giving declarer an awkward guess (playing the King would give the game away).
However, if spades are 4 – 2 which is more likely, then declarer can only succeed if East or West has the doubleton Jx of spades.
So, declarer won the Ace of hearts, came to hand with the Ace of spades and led the ♠4. West played low smoothly and declarer played the ♠Q from dummy, squashing East’s Jack.
Declarer led the ♠10 which West won with the ♠K and continued hearts but declarer won the King in dummy and cashed dummy’s♠9 for the twelfth trick. 6NT made.