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Oct. 15/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


Facing a 2NT opening of 20-21 points (the traditional 22-24 range has taken a back seat to a more streamlined version), South was uncertain about the best strain and level for the final contract, so he investigated. First, he used Stayman to look for a fit in hearts, but when North failed to oblige, he showed his clubs, suggesting the possibility of a slam. North cue-bid to show his enthusiasm, and after two further cue bids, South very aggressively took the big plunge. Luckily, perhaps, 7 was a good contract.

 Both sides vulnerable North deals

  A 8 6 3
K 6 3

A J 10

Q 9 7
9 7 4 2
Q 1 0 8 2

5 4

K J 10 5 2
8 3
9 7 5

7 3 2

J 10 6 5
A J 4

K Q 9 8 6


West North East South
  2NT Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass 4(1) Pass 5(1)
Pass 5(1) Pass 7

(1) Cue-bid for clubs

Opening Lead:

 West led a trump and declarer could count twelve tricks. There were several possibilities for a thirteenth: a complex diamond ruff in dummy after taking two rounds of trumps and four rounds of hearts, a straightforward finesse of the
J, or a "dummy reversal" (ruff three spades in the South hand and draw trumps in dummy). Ruffing a diamond in dummy is a very poor chance, requiring the same defender to hold both four hearts and three trumps. The finesse is a 50% chance, and the dummy reversal, which needs trumps three-two, is about a two-to-one favourite.

 Declarer saw a way to combine his chances. He won the trump lead, played
A, spade ruff high, and led a second trump to dummy's ace. When trumps broke three-two, he continued the dummy reversal: spade ruff high, heart to dummy, spade ruff, diamond to dummy, J to draw the last trump, discarding the J, two high hearts, diamond to the ace, J.

 Note that if an opponent had shown out on the second round of trumps, South would have been able to draw trumps, cash dummy's high hearts, play the
K and then finesse the J.