Bridge By The Lake
By Ken Masson
Slam hands are nearly always exciting to bid and play. It would be nice if we had 12 running tricks every time we arrived at the six-level but sadly that is not the case and we have to choose the best line of play to make our contract. Fortunately, there are sometimes ways of reducing guesswork and the illustrated hand shows how it can be done.
South was dealer and with a balanced 22 high card points made the modern opening bid of 2 clubs. North responded 2 diamonds, a “waiting” bid asking for a further description of partner’s hand. 2 No Trump showed 22 to 24 high card points and North had no hesitation in jumping to the no-trump slam.
West made the opening lead of the heart jack and the first thing declarer did was to count winners and was a little disappointed to see only 11 sure-fire tricks but if the club finesse worked all would be well with the world, so south correctly called for the club queen and let it ride to West who won with the king.
Declarer now saw that the contract depended on finding the spade queen and the task proved to be an easy one because when South cashed the heart ace it became apparent that West started with five hearts after East showed out on the third round of the suit. Declarer continued with three rounds of clubs learning that West held precisely four clubs and then followed with the ace, king and queen of diamonds learning that West held at least three diamonds.
With 12 of West’s 13 cards accounted for it was obvious that West held at most one spade, so declarer led the spade five to the king and led a spade to the jack knowing the jack would win. Thanks to careful “spadework’ this finesse, unlike most others, was 100% certain to succeed!
Column: Bridge by the Lake
Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge for more than 40 years. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Ken has been living in the Toronto area since 1967. He and his wife and bridge partner Rosemarie have been wintering in Lakeside since 2006. Even after all these years of playing they find bridge to be a constant challenge and enjoy sharing some of their triumphs and mishaps with Ojo readers in each column.