The Dallas Morning News



In our final deal on the subject of offering losing options, South makes a minimum reverse and hears a game-forcing raise. North could bid two no-trump as a puppet to three clubs with a weak hand. When North subsequent­ly cue-bids four spades, South’s five clubs guarantees both a club and heart control since North bypassed that suit. So North takes a shot at six diamonds.

Looking at a likely trump trick and holding useful cards in the side suits, West need not attack with a dangerous heart lead, especially when South has shown a stopper. He puts the ball in play with a passive spade, won by dummy’s ace. Declarer takes the top clubs and leads a third club, ruffing with the seven. When that works out, he cashes the diamond king. If West follows low to this trick, declarer has little alternativ­e to the winning line of playing a diamond to the ace, throwing a heart on a club and crossruffi­ng, losing just one trump trick at the end. He cannot survive queen-jack-fourth of diamonds with East, so there is no point in a second-round trump finesse.

West can try to throw a wrench in the works by dropping a diamond honor under the king. If declarer were to continue with a diamond to the ace now, and West showed out, he would be in deep trouble. For this reason, declarer might choose to cash the spade king and then run the diamond nine. If he does, he is sunk when West wins and returns a third trump, leaving declarer stranded with a heart loser.

Answer: This hand has great slam potential after partner’s raise. You could bid four clubs to set the scene for cue-bidding, but I would start with a three-diamond call, initially a probe for three notrump, showing rather than asking. You would plan to remove three no-trump to four clubs as a slam try.

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