Contract 7H by South. West leads a trump. Plan the play.

Bidding comment: South should have bid a direct 6H after the Bergen raise, for he requires correct cards as well as the right distribution in his partner's hand for the grand slam to be a good proposition. North cannot be faulted for bidding the grand.

Analysis: You have only ten tricks on top. Of course you can ruff a spade in dummy for the eleventh trick. You need the diamonds to be 4-3 for you to have any chance. If trumps are 2-2 or if spade queen falls in the third round when you ruff, you will come to thirteen tricks. Is there any other chance? How do you play?

Play: East follows with the jack and you win with the ace. Unblock the diamond ace, cross to the spade king, and ruff a diamond with the heart nine. Cash heart king next to see if trumps are 2-2. When east shows out on the second trump by discarding a spade, cash spade ace, and ruff a spade with the heart queen. Ruff a third diamond with heart eight and play the last heart in your hand to the ten in dummy. Cash the diamond king to reach the three-card ending shown below:

When you cash the winner diamond, east is squeezed in the black suits. The complete hands are:

Discussion: The play requires exquisite timing, for you need to ruff a spade loser, establish a long diamond, and finally squeeze east. It is not a great contract, for the chances of success works out to about 35 per cent whereas 68 per cent is considered the acceptable minimum for a grand slam.

Draw a slanting line after each trick or better still play out the deal using a deck of cards to understand the play better.



Bridge: Dentist coupJuly 24, 2010