THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
TWO CONTRACTS AND TWO LINES
Bob Hope defined bigamy as the only crime where two rites make a wrong.
Today, let’s have two contracts to see if you can play both of them rite — I mean, right. South is in six hearts or seven hearts. West leads the diamond jack. How should declarer proceed in each slam?
North responded two no-trump, the Jacoby Forcing Raise, promising at least four-card heart support and game-going values. South launched Roman Key-Card Blackwood. North showed two key-cards (two aces, or one ace and the trump king). Now South knew to settle for six hearts.
If South’s four no-trump were regular Blackwood, he would have followed with five no-trump to learn that one king was missing and not known what to do. Note that if North’s diamond king were the heart king, South would have 13 top tricks: four spades, five hearts, one diamond and three clubs.
Each slam revolves around the trump suit. In seven hearts, South should play a heart to his queen, winning whenever East has king-doubleton or West has jack-singleton.
But in the small slam, declarer can afford one trump loser. Then the best play is to start with his ace. Here, the king drops from West. Now South can make seven, crossing to dummy and finessing East out of his trump jack.
If instead the jack drops from West, South continues with his queen and claims. And if the ace draws only the three and the six, declarer crosses to the board and leads a heart toward his queen. He has no guesswork.
In this deal, strangely, you go down one or two in seven hearts, but make six with an overtrick!