Jeff Lehman

Landing a Heart Slam

You reach 6 over an opponent’s preemptive 3 overcall from the second session of the Saturday July 29 10:00/3:00 regional pairs game at the Toronto NABCs:

W
West
N
North
E
East
S
South
Pass
1
3
Dbl
Pass
5NT1
Pass
6
All Pass
 
 
 
(1) Pick a slam

West leads the 7.  

N
North
A
K743
AJ82
AQ87
7
S
South
42
AQJ1095
64
J64

What is your plan?

Having escaped a diamond lead, you can afford to lose one club, so long as you can win three clubs, enabling you to discard your losing diamond on the third club winner.

The A is won at Trick 1 in North hand.  Lead a heart to South at Trick 2.  Each opponent follows suit. 

Key play: avoid drawing the remaining trump at Trick 3.

Lead the J at Trick 3 from the South hand.  Your general plan is to finesse West for at least two of the three key missing club cards.  On the bidding, West rates to own most, if not all, of the three key missing club cards of the king, ten, and nine.

If the J is not covered and wins Trick 3, draw the remaining trump at Trick 4 by playing a high trump in the South hand and finesse the Q at Trick 5.  Hopefully you win Trick 5, too, and can then cash A at Trick 6.  Assuming the fourth club is not good, you can ruff the fourth club at Trick 7, ruff a spade in North hand at Trick 8 and concede one diamond, making 6.

If the J is not covered and loses Trick 3 to East’s K, win the assumed diamond return with North’s A at Trick 4 and draw the remaining trump at Trick 5 by playing to a high trump in the South hand.  With the current position of the club suit being AQ8 opposite xx, double finesse clubs (that is, play West for holding the T and 9) by playing a small club toward North’s eight at Trick 6.  If West covers with the T or 9, play the Q and lead a third round of hearts to your hand at Trick 7.  (This explains why you drew only one round of trumps before making your first club play: you might need to come to your hand three times in trumps and must also leave one trump in North hand to ruff your losing spade.)  Finesse – you hope successfully – against the remaining club intermediate of West at Trick 8 and discard your losing diamond on the A at Trick 9.  Ruff a diamond to South hand and a spade to North hand and claim.

If the J is covered by West’s K, win A in North hand at Trick 3.  Draw the remaining trump at Trick 4 by playing to a high trump in the South hand.  With the current position of the club suit being Q87 opposite xx, play a small club from South hand at Trick 5.  If West follows small, play the 7 from dummy.  If the 7 loses to East’s club intermediate, win the assumed diamond return with North’s A at Trick 6, lead a third round of trumps to South hand at Trick 7, and finesse – you hope successfully – against West for the remaining club intermediate at Trick 8.  Discard your losing diamond on the Q at Trick 9, ruff a diamond to South hand, ruff a spade to North hand and claim.  If West plays the 9 or T at Trick 5 (see the actual layout below), win the Q and force out the other club intermediate by playing the 8 at Trick 6.  Win the assumed diamond return in North hand at Trick 7 and discard your losing diamond on the 7.  Ruff a diamond to South and a spade to North, and claim.

 
20
Both
West
N
North
A
K743
AJ82
AQ87
 
W
West
K97
62
K107
K10952
7
E
East
QJ108653
8
Q953
3
 
S
South
42
AQJ1095
64
J64
 

Playing a small club from South at Trick 3 toward North’s 87 – covering any card played by West that is higher than the 8 – is equivalent to the shown play of playing the J from South at Trick 3.

 

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