‘Against a slam contract, ATTACK'. That was the bridge tip for the defenders by none other than the Italian World Champion, Benito Garozzo. Even more so, if there has been no clue whatever. See if you can use this advice, as a declarer, in the deal below from a real life match-point event.

West leads D 2, lowest from odd.

Bidding comment:North raised to 6H, relying on his partner's vulnerable weak-two in the first seat. An overbid no doubt… but there was the chance that a favourable lead would allow the slam to the made.

Play:Declarer tried the D Q from dummy at trick one. No luck. East won and played back the ten, dummy winning with the ace.

Analysis:You need a lot of luck from here on. The C Q should be a doubleton and you need an extra trick from spades.

Play continues…. Declarer decided to play a few rounds of trumps. When declarer cashed H Q from dummy, west followed with the jack. To the three more rounds of trumps, west discarded a diamond, a spade, and after long consideration one more spade. Declarer, my partner, worked out the problem west faced. He guessed rightly that west must have S J-x-x-x-x H J D J-x-x C 10-x-x-x. His argument was that west would have certainly attacked the slam with the lead of a spade if he had held S K-x-x-x-x.

Play continued…. Declarer played a spade to the ace, ruffed a spade, crossed to the club ace, and ruffed one more spade, bringing down king from east. When declarer entered dummy by a club to cash the queen of spades, east obligingly followed with the queen. Result +1430 to NS.

The full deal is:

Discussion:

If declarer had gone for the spade finesse, he would have gone down. He judged correctly to ruff out the king!

Even if dummy's spades had only been S A-x-x-x, the run of trumps would have squeezed west in the black suit lengths!

When you are faced with the problem of having to take a finesse, you should examine whether it can be delayed. May be you should reel trumps. Very often you will find a defender discarding wrongly, presenting you with the contract on a platter. Or better still, the squeeze is on!

E-mail: ls4bridge@gmail.com

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