South felt pushed around on this deal from a recent IMP team game. It is questionable whether N-S would reach the slam on their own; but after Easts fierce barrage to 5 , there was no in-between for South. With an exciting playing hand, he used good judgment to take the push to 6 . This reminds me of the poetic bridge tip attributed to Grant Baze: With six-four, bid one more! So often it is right.
West led two top diamonds, and South ruffed the second round. Declarer had 11 top tricks, and with a normal heart division (4-2) he could establish dummys fifth heart as a 12th trick. In addition there was a chance that the Q might drop under the A-K. Accordingly, declarer drew the enemy trumps and tested the hearts. Oops. Wests discard on the second heart foiled that plan, and there was nothing lucky happening in spades either. Down one.
Too bad. Declarer missed a golden opportunity. After drawing the enemy trumps it costs nothing to lead one more trump and discard the 2 from dummy. This does not jeopardize any of declarers chances, while it forces East to make a fatal discard. East must come down to seven cards, so it is likely he would keep equal heart length with dummy and let go a spade (this would save the day if West held the J). Declarer now tests the hearts, and when the foul distribution is revealed his only remaining hope is to cash the A-K. Bingo! Now the queen drops and the slam is made.
© 1999 Richard Pavlicek