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Both vulnerable, West deals

NORTH

♠A 10 9 2

♥A 10 6 4 3

♦Q J 6

♣5

WEST EAST

♠7 ♠6 5 4 3

♥8 7 2 ♥5

♦K 5 ♦10 9 8 4 3 2

♣A K Q 10 8 7 6 ♣J 4

SOUTH

♠K Q J 8

♥K Q J 9

♦A 7

♣9 3 2

The bidding:

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

1♣ Dbl Pass 2♣

3♣ 3♥ Pass 4NT

Pass 5♥ Pass 6♠

All pass

Opening lead: Ace of

Today’s deal is a good example of expert reasoning at the table. South reasoned that his partner almost certainly had a five-card heart suit for his three-heart bid. He could have just doubled again with extra values and no five-card suit. Also, South reasoned, if his partner had started with three spades and five hearts, he would have just overcalled at his first turn rather than make a takeout double. Therefore, North also had a four-card spade suit. The double promised at least three-card support for all unbid suits, so that meant that North had three diamonds and a singleton club, or possibly four diamonds and no clubs.

Putting all this together, South realized the slam would play much better in the four-four spade fit rather than the five-four heart fit, so he bid the slam in spades, introducing the suit for the first time at the six level. That was a good decision, as South was able to ruff two clubs in the dummy and discard his losing diamond on dummy’s fifth heart. A six-heart contract would have had no chance with the king of diamonds offside.

Oddly, six spades can be defeated if West stumbles on the very unlikely lead of a heart. South will have to concede a club early to prepare for his club ruffs, and West can win the club and give his partner a heart ruff. South might never have recovered. (02/13/19)

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