Establishing a Long Suit Early Often Overcomes Bad Trump Break

 by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

How would you play the small slam on the lead of the club suit10?

North-South vulnerable South deals

Spade Suit A K 8 6 3 2
Heart Suit 6
Diamond Suit A Q 4
club suit A 7 3
Spade Suit 4
Heart Suit A K J 8
Diamond Suit K 8 6 5 2
club suit K 6 4
West North East South
1Diamond Suit
Pass 2Spade Suit Pass 2NT
Pass 3Diamond Suit Pass 3Heart Suit
Pass 3Spade Suit Pass 4Diamond Suit
Pass 5club suit Dble Rdble
Pass 5Heart Suit Pass 6Diamond Suit
End

Opening Lead: club suit10

 North starts with a strong jump shift, then supports diamonds at his next turn. South shows first-round control of hearts and North cue-bids the Spade SuitA. With his “waiting” 4Diamond Suitbid South denies the club suitA, but when North shows that ace and East doubles, South redoubles to show second-round control of the suit. North’s 5Heart Suitbid is a grand slam try promising a second-round control but South realises that his Heart SuitK is a wasted value opposite North’s heart shortness. With no fit for North’s primary suit, and thin interior trumps, South signs off in 6Diamond Suit.

The best technical plan is to establish spades as early as possible with the least risk while maintaining the entries to dummy to use the suit once it has been established. You could find a deal of this type in a good textbook on card play but this “real” deal was played in the French Open Team Trials; all the declarers in 6Diamond Suit were successful.

 Win the club suitK in hand and play the king of trumps, cross to the Spade SuitA, ruff a spade, play a trump to the queen. When you discover the bad break, ruff another spade in case they divide four-two. If the ruff stands up, cross to the trump ace and play high spades. As long as the player (West here) with the master trump cannot discard all his hearts before ruffing in, you will make your contract. If West started with only six cards in the majors (three hearts and three spades or four hearts and two spades), he could discard all his hearts, then ruff the first heart trick and prevent you from reaching your hand.

If West ruffs early, he cannot prevent you from discarding a club from dummy on a high heart and the A is the sure entry for the remaining spades.

On combinations of this type, the winning line often involves establishing a long suit as the first priority, then managing trumps and entries with care.

The 4 hands:

Spade Suit A K 8 6 3 2
Heart Suit 6
Diamond Suit A Q 4
club suit A 7 3
Spade Suit9 7 5
Heart SuitQ 9 4 2
Diamond SuitJ 10 9 3
club suit10 2
Spade Suit Q J 10
Heart Suit 10 7 5 3
Diamond Suit 7
club suit Q J 9 8 5
Spade Suit 4
Heart Suit A K J 8
Diamond Suit K 8 6 5 2
club suit K 6 4