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East-West vulnerable, West deals

NORTH

♠A 10 8 6

♥2

♦A K 10 9 8 4

♣J 6

WEST EAST

♠Void ♠7 3

♥A K 9 7 3 ♥Q J 6 5 4

♦Q J 7 6 3 ♦2

♣A 9 4 ♣K Q 10 5 3

SOUTH

♠K Q J 9 5 4 2

♥10 8

♦5

♣8 7 2

The bidding:

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

1♥ 2♦ 4♦ Pass

4♥ Pass Pass 4♠

Pass Pass 5♥ Pass

6♥ 6♠ Dbl All pass

Splinter bid, heart raise with shortness in diamonds

Opening lead: Seven of

Today’s deal is from a major championship in India not long ago. North judged well to take the sacrifice despite holding two aces. Six hearts would have made easily. A “wild and wooly” auction like this one often ends with a penalty double. The double of a slam, however, often has lead implications, asking for an unusual lead. This is usually the lead of dummy’s first-bid suit.

West, who knew that his partner had, at most, one diamond, thought the double suggested a diamond void. The defense could have taken the first three tricks, but declarer had a chance when West lead the seven of diamonds.

What would you play on the opening lead? Declarer reasoned that the loss of an additional trick would only cost 200 points, so it was well worth risking that for a chance to score 1210 points for making his slam. He courageously played dummy’s 10 of diamonds at trick one! When this held the trick, and East followed, South ruffed a diamond with his king of spades. He crossed back to dummy with a spade to the 10 and ruffed another diamond high. The ace of spades drew the last trump and South discarded all three of his club losers on the good diamonds. This earned a big swing for his team.

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