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April 21, 2001
A Little Imagination and Slam City

A Little Imagination

Sometimes this game requires imagination. When you are faced with what seems to be an impossible situation, you must search for a lie of the cards that will allow you to achieve success. Vulnerable against non vulnerable opponents you and partner pick up these hands and experience this lively auction:

North
spade.gif (842 bytes)AQ876
heart.gif (841 bytes)
diamond.gif (837 bytes)Q108764
West club.gif (841 bytes)K5 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)??? spade.gif (842 bytes)???
heart.gif (841 bytes)??? heart.gif (841 bytes)???
diamond.gif (837 bytes)??? diamond.gif (837 bytes)???
club.gif (841 bytes)??? South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)???
spade.gif (842 bytes)KJ10532
heart.gif (841 bytes)
diamond.gif (837 bytes)532
club.gif (841 bytes)AQ32

 

West North East South
1diamond.gif (837 bytes) 1heart.gif (841 bytes) 1spade.gif (842 bytes)
4heart.gif (841 bytes) 4spade.gif (842 bytes) 6heart.gif (841 bytes) 6spade.gif (842 bytes)
Pass Pass Pass

East-West accelerated the auction and seem to have pushed your side into a bad slam. Can you recover?

West leads the heart.gif (841 bytes)K. Plan the play.

Answer:

Obviously the diamond suit is the problem. The opening lead allows you trump in the North and discard one of the three diamonds in the South hand. That leaves you with two apparent diamond losers (one too many!).

What can allow you to dispose of another diamond loser?

How about another ruff-sluff? You will need a singleton diamond.gif (837 bytes)A or diamond.gif (837 bytes)K.

The play:

1- Trump the opening lead in the North and discard a diamond from South.
2- Pull trump (one or two rounds, whatever it takes).
3- Cash three top clubs and trump the last club to eliminate the suit.
4- Lead a small diamond.

If someone has a singleton diamond honor they will have to give you another ruff-sluff. You can discard your remaining losing diamond.

The complete hand:

North
spade.gif (842 bytes)AQ876
heart.gif (841 bytes)
diamond.gif (837 bytes)Q108764
West club.gif (841 bytes)K5 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)9 spade.gif (842 bytes)4
heart.gif (841 bytes)KQ6543 heart.gif (841 bytes)AJ109872
diamond.gif (837 bytes)KJ9 diamond.gif (837 bytes)A
club.gif (841 bytes)J74 South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)10986
spade.gif (842 bytes)KJ10532
heart.gif (841 bytes)
diamond.gif (837 bytes)532
club.gif (841 bytes)AQ32

Slam City

This brief is an excerpt from an article that first appeared in Issue #17 (Mar/Apr 1997) of The Bridge Companion.

Directions: You have arrived in SLAM CITY! Here are three, 6heart.gif (841 bytes) contracts. The auction and opening lead are given. Formulate your plan of action. In each case try to work out the best line of play. Find the line of play that will be successful the greatest percentage of the time. As in real life, not all of these contracts are good ones. In some cases you are the underdog. Make the best of what you have been dealt. Some are more difficult than others. Try to determine your goal. Is it to hold the trump losers to one? Or is it developing extra needed tricks?

1.

North
spade.gif (842 bytes)AJ104
heart.gif (841 bytes)AQJ
diamond.gif (837 bytes)3
West club.gif (841 bytes)KQJ108 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)??? spade.gif (842 bytes)???
heart.gif (841 bytes)??? heart.gif (841 bytes)???
diamond.gif (837 bytes)??? diamond.gif (837 bytes)???
club.gif (841 bytes)??? South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)???
spade.gif (842 bytes)32
heart.gif (841 bytes)K1095432
diamond.gif (837 bytes)A875
club.gif (841 bytes)
West North East South
1club.gif (841 bytes) Pass 1heart.gif (841 bytes)
Pass 2spade.gif (842 bytes) Pass 3heart.gif (841 bytes)
Pass 4NT Pass 6club.gif (841 bytes)
Pass 6heart.gif (841 bytes) Pass Pass
Pass

After discovery of a heart fit partner tries Blackwood to make sure your side is not missing two aces and then bids slam. Your 6club.gif (841 bytes) response shows one ace and a void in clubs. After some thought, West leads the heart.gif (841 bytes)7. A trump lead. You may play what you wish from dummy. East follows with the heart.gif (841 bytes)6. You have nine top tricks. What is your best shot for twelve tricks? How would you estimate your chances?

2.

North
spade.gif (842 bytes)A3
heart.gif (841 bytes)K2
diamond.gif (837 bytes)AQJ109
West club.gif (841 bytes)AK32 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)??? spade.gif (842 bytes)???
heart.gif (841 bytes)??? heart.gif (841 bytes)???
diamond.gif (837 bytes)??? diamond.gif (837 bytes)???
club.gif (841 bytes)??? South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)???
spade.gif (842 bytes)KQ76
heart.gif (841 bytes)J1076543
diamond.gif (837 bytes)K
club.gif (841 bytes)4
West North East South
1diamond.gif (837 bytes) Pass 1heart.gif (841 bytes)
Pass 3club.gif (841 bytes) Pass 3heart.gif (841 bytes)
Pass 4heart.gif (841 bytes) Pass 4NT
Pass 5spade.gif (842 bytes) Pass 6heart.gif (841 bytes)
Pass Pass Pass

Disappointed by partner’s trump support (three cards would have been better!) you must give it your best shot. Plenty of tricks are available as long as you do not lose two trump tricks. You must always lose to the trump ace, so you need to avoid also losing a trick to the trump queen. What is your plan to play trumps? Opening lead is the spade.gif (842 bytes)J.

3.

North
spade.gif (842 bytes)AK632
heart.gif (841 bytes)AK87
diamond.gif (837 bytes)A2
West club.gif (841 bytes)73 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)??? spade.gif (842 bytes)???
heart.gif (841 bytes)??? heart.gif (841 bytes)???
diamond.gif (837 bytes)??? diamond.gif (837 bytes)???
club.gif (841 bytes)??? South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)???
spade.gif (842 bytes)10
heart.gif (841 bytes)Q109643
diamond.gif (837 bytes)Q3
club.gif (841 bytes)AJ42
West North East South
1spade.gif (842 bytes) Pass 2heart.gif (841 bytes)
Pass 6heart.gif (841 bytes) Pass Pass
Pass

We really have to talk with partner about blasting into these slams. Notice how partner never has to play them! The opening lead is the diamond.gif (837 bytes)5. Do you win the diamond.gif (837 bytes)A or let it ride hoping to win the diamond.gif (837 bytes)Q? What twelve tricks will you take?

Answers:

1.

North
spade.gif (842 bytes)AJ104
heart.gif (841 bytes)AQJ
diamond.gif (837 bytes)3
West club.gif (841 bytes)KQJ108 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)9875 spade.gif (842 bytes)KQ6
heart.gif (841 bytes)87 heart.gif (841 bytes)6
diamond.gif (837 bytes)KQJ diamond.gif (837 bytes)109642
club.gif (841 bytes)A754 South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)9632
spade.gif (842 bytes)32
heart.gif (841 bytes)K1095432
diamond.gif (837 bytes)A875
club.gif (841 bytes)

With the trump lead and with East following suit, the trump suit is dividing as expected (2-1). You have seven heart tricks and two aces. Several options are available for additional tricks. Repeated finesses in spades will yield one trick as long as West has either the spade.gif (842 bytes)Q or the spade.gif (842 bytes)K (or both). The repeated finesse will be successful about 75% of the time. Two more additional tricks could be gained by trumping losing diamonds in the dummy. The trump lead removed one heart from the short hand but that still leaves two trumps. After trumping diamonds you can finish pulling trump. That is a pretty good line of play but there is a better one. There is the 100% guaranteed line of play. Win the opening lead in dummy. Cash another heart to finish pulling trump. Lead the club.gif (841 bytes)K and discard a spade from your hand. After they win the club.gif (841 bytes)A you will have all the extra tricks you need from the club suit. As a side note, if East holds and covers with the club.gif (841 bytes)A, you can trump and make all thirteen tricks!

2.

North
spade.gif (842 bytes)A3
heart.gif (841 bytes)K2
diamond.gif (837 bytes)AQJ109
West club.gif (841 bytes)AK32 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)J1098 spade.gif (842 bytes)542
heart.gif (841 bytes)A98 heart.gif (841 bytes)Q
diamond.gif (837 bytes)8642 diamond.gif (837 bytes)753
club.gif (841 bytes)106 South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)QJ9875
spade.gif (842 bytes)KQ76
heart.gif (841 bytes)J1076543
diamond.gif (837 bytes)K
club.gif (841 bytes)4

Three sure spade tricks, five sure diamond tricks, and two sure club tricks. The only problem on this slam is not losing to the heart.gif (841 bytes)Q as you will have to lose to the heart.gif (841 bytes)A. What are the possible distributions of the trump suit? There are only sixteen possibilities. You always have two losers with nine of the possibilities. Seven ways give you some chance. A low heart (not the heart.gif (841 bytes)10 or heart.gif (841 bytes)J) to the heart.gif (841 bytes)K will win in five of those seven ways and lose in two of the seven ways. The proper play is to win the opening lead in hand and immediately play a small trump. Lay out all the possibilities and see for yourself.

3.

North
spade.gif (842 bytes)AK632
heart.gif (841 bytes)AK87
diamond.gif (837 bytes)A2
West club.gif (841 bytes)73 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)J987 spade.gif (842 bytes)Q54
heart.gif (841 bytes)52 heart.gif (841 bytes)J
diamond.gif (837 bytes)J875 diamond.gif (837 bytes)K10964
club.gif (841 bytes)Q108 South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)K965
spade.gif (842 bytes)10
heart.gif (841 bytes)Q109643
diamond.gif (837 bytes)Q3
club.gif (841 bytes)AJ42

Do not even think about playing a small diamond from dummy. Win the diamond.gif (837 bytes)A, cash the top two trumps, and cash the top two spades discarding the last diamond from your hand. Cash the club.gif (841 bytes)A and then lose a club trick. Your two extra tricks can come from trumping two losing clubs in the dummy. You always have to lose one club on this hand. You must stop pulling trumps if they divide 3-0 (someone will show out on the first round). If you do not you will not have enough trumps in dummy. If cash two rounds the opponents will play a third round when they get on lead with the club trick and you will end up a trick short.

Thanks!
Gary King

2001 The Bridge Companion. All rights reserved.