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  Nov. 01/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 When dummy appeared, South berated North for missing a reasonable slam, but when the deal was over there was no doubt about who was responsible for going down in game. Despite South's tirade, North's bidding was sensible. His 2NT denied positive values, but then he supported hearts and cue-bid his A. He signed off in 4 because the Q was of dubious value opposite South's likely shortness.

South deals East-West vulnerable

  9 7 3
8 7 4
Q 8 4 2

A 8 5

Q 4 2
J 9 5 2
K 9 6 5 3


J 10 8 6
A J 10 7

J 10 9 3

  A K 5
A K Q 10 6

K Q 6 4 2


West North East South
Pass 2NT Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 4 end  

Opening Lead:

 West wisely started with the
5, leading from length rather than shortage because his long trump holding suggested forcing out declarer's trumps rather than seeking ruffs himself. East put in the 10 and South ruffed, drew three rounds of trumps, and found he could no longer make 4. He played ace-king of clubs but West ruffed and continued diamonds, forcing out South's last trump. Declarer could take only his top tricks, going down one.

 North, to his credit, did not say a word, maintaining his self-control. Declarer too should have been concerned with maintaining control . . . of the trump suit.

 When East shows out on the second trump, declarer should turn to clubs, playing king, then low toward the ace. West correctly discards, but he must ruff the third club (the queen) or else declarer will ruff a fourth club in dummy, depriving the defenders of their club trick. When West ruffs, however, he has no effective play. If he leads his last trump to stop the club ruff, South concedes a club to establish his long card while he has a trump to control the diamonds. He loses only one spade, one heart, and one club.

 It is worse for West to ruff the third club and play a diamond. South ruffs and plays a fourth club and will make an overtrick: if West does not ruff he will lose his second trump trick, but if he ruffs declarer will discard a spade from dummy on the long club and later ruff his third spade.

 It was declarer's third round of trumps that killed his gentle 4
contract. Slam indeed. North's raised eyebrow said it all