Source: IBPA Column Service Feb. 2019

Dealer South. E/W Vul

A 8
A 10 7 6
A K 8
7 6 4 2
9 6
9 8 5 4
6 2
J 10 8 5 3
K Q J 10 7 4 3 2

J 10 9 4
9
5
K Q J 3 2
Q 7 5 3
A K Q
West North East South
1
Pass 2NT1 4 4NT2
Pass 53 Pass 5NT4
Pass 65 Pass 7
Pass Pass Pass
  1. Forcing-to-game raise in hearts
  2. RKCB
  3. 0 or 3 key cards
  4. Grand-slam try; guarantees all key cards and the trump queen
  5. King of diamonds

The opening lead was consistent with an original holding of a singleton or doubleton spade in the West hand. Declarer tentatively placed East with eight spades and five cards in the minors.

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

As there were six cards outstanding in each minor, West had to have at least one card in each suit if he were 2=4 in the majors and had seven minor-suit cards. Consequently, declarer cashed the ace of clubs followed by a diamond to the ace in the knowledge that neither card could be ruffed.

Declarer noted that East had at least one card in each minor and that left three unknown minor-suit cards in his hand. Declarer could thus lead a club to the king and a diamond to the king in complete safety: there were four cards in each minor remaining in the defensive hands and East could hold at most three of them in either suit, which therefore meant that West had to have at least one card remaining in each minor.

South ruffed his spade loser with the queen of hearts, cashed the queen of clubs and led a heart to the eight and ten. He then ruffed his fourth club high, led a heart to the seven and drew West’s last trump with the ace. The queen of diamonds was the thirteenth and contract-fulfilling trick.

Note that if East had followed twice in each minor, it would have been safe to cash the queen of both minors, at which point declarer would have known what to do next. Finally, if East had discarded on the second diamond, then a diamond could have been ruffed safely in dummy for the thirteenth trick.

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