North South Vulnerable

North South Vulnerable

Play Bridge: Grand finale with a grand slam

This is the 120th column of Play Bridge. It has been following all the topics in the order found on an ACBL convention card.

This is the 120th column of Play Bridge. It has been following all the topics in the order found on an ACBL convention card, and the topics have come to an end.

The last section on the convention card is on leads and other defensive carding. This has been covered throughout. I am finishing the convention card topics with a grand bang, a grand slam, of course. The next column will start a series for newcomers.

The bidding: In the auction one will notice a lot of club and spade bids. They are mostly artificial. Three clubs is a check-back asking if partner skipped a major to bid two notrump. He did. South has four spades and three or fewer hearts. Three diamonds would be to play. Three hearts or spades would be forcing.

Four and five clubs are Gerber asking for aces and kings respectively. Four and five spades show two aces and kings respectively.

Seven notrump is not a gamble because if South does not have three hearts, either spades or diamonds may break three-three and the contract is home.  If these conditions do not occur, a squeeze is still possible. If the squeeze fails, a defensive mistake may occur. So play out the hand regardless.

The contract: Seven Notrump by South.

The opening lead: The eight of clubs.

This is the top of nothing. One certainly would never lead from an honour even a jack against a slam. The lead is a safe one because, if the declarer does not have clubs sewn up, partner will be finessed anyways.

The play: This is a squeeze play all the way. Cash the spade honours and the queen and ace of diamonds. If you see any diamond or spade discard, your fourth diamond or spade respectively is good. Now cash all your clubs and then the hearts. There is no point letting the opponents see your heart honours crash until the very end. East is squeezed. Whatever he discards at trick eleven will set up either South’s spade or North’s fourth diamond.

The result: Seven Notrump making seven for +2220.

Note: All the bridge columns may be viewed at http://watsongallery.ca.