Iinteresting hand 27

This hand occurred on a Sunday sesion as an E-W hand. West opened 1 and East responded 1 . W then re-bid 2NT showing 17-18pts and after a little thought E then bid 6NT! Half the E-W pairs bid a slam, but only one pair made 6NT. This is a fairly easy hand to bid, because E knows that the partnership has a combined points total of around 35, and therefore not 2 quick losers, and a slam should be bid. It is a very hard hand to make.

This is the four hands and for the convenience of showing the hands, they have been turned round, so West becomes S, and E becomes N, etc on the diagram. So from now on player directions refer to the diagram and not to the actual hand positions.

The full hands

South (W at the table)Deals
None Vul

Contract 6NT by S

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

So can you make 6NT? Putting the 4 hands into Bridge Solver shows that 6NT can be made by either the S or N player, and you can also make 12 tricks in or s. The Q is the obvious choice of lead against 6NT by S on the diagram.

You have 11 top tricks, so where is the 12th coming from?

If either s or s break 3-3 then declarer can give up a card in the suit and make 3 tricks in it, so making the slam. The problem is which suit, because if you get it wrong there is no going back. Neither suit make break favourably. The intermediates are slightly better in s for declarer, so that is a better choice.

Win the lead in hand, and start on the s, by leading to dummy playing A,K, 8 in that order, and winning in hand and cashing J. On the 4th both opponents have to discard, W can afford a and E a and you throw a from dummy.

Now comes the crucial point. Lead 5 towards dummy. If you just cash the A and K of s the contract fails. Not surprising W goes up with J. and you and E play low. However you know that the10 is almost certainly with E. West now exits with J which you win with the K, and this reveals that E started with only 1 card in the suit. Now very probable that the s are not going to break 3-3. The 9 is a very significant card. Play it and East's s are trapped. E will cover with the 10 and you win with the K. Now you can play K playing low on dummy, followed by another to win in dummy, and play your last throwing the losing from hand. Dummy has 6 and you have A7 in the suit. Lead the 6 and if it is not covered by the Q (unlikely), overtake with the 7 which wins. Then cash A for the 12th trick.

It is fortunate that W does not have Q, J and another . Giving up an early trick (in s on this hand) to help rectify the count, is a common play in a slam where you can count 11 tricks and seek to make the 12th either by a suit breaking or where one hand holds both key suits and cannot hang on to both.