Jenn dealt and opened 1 Spade! I immediately thought of slam, possibly a grand. I had a good fit and possible source of tricks. I decided it would be best to take the wheel and get as much information as I could. How would you proceed?
I started with 2 Hearts, to create a game force, planning to bid spades next to set the trump suit. Jenn responded 2 Spades, which by our agreement showed a 6-card or longer broken suit with unlimited values. [An alternative approach, favored by Lawrence and used in Bridge World Standard, is to rebid 2 Spades to show minimum values, perhaps with only 5 spades, so that 2NT or 3 of a new suit would show extras.] Now I bid 3 Spades to show the fit and slam interest. Jenn replied 4 Spades, showing a minimum. But even with her minimum, a grand slam wasn't out of the question if she had the right cards.
I checked for aces with 4NT, and she replied 5 Hearts, showing 2 keycards without the queen. Now I tried 5NT, confirming that we had all the keycards and the trump queen. This is an invitation to a grand which asks either for specific kings or acceptance with other suitable cards. [If, for example, Jenn was looking at the heart queen, she might accept on the theory that I most likely had the AK of hearts. If I only needed the heart king for seven, I would have bid 6 Hearts, not 5NT.]
Jenn replied 6 Spades, which denied any kings or interest in a grand slam. I gave up and passed. Jenn got a diamond lead and looked at:
I can understand why she wasn't anxious to cooperate in a grand slam try! She had only 9 HCP, but nonetheless a solid 1 Spade opening bid. She played it as safe as she could to make six:
Heart AK pitching a diamond.
Club to the ace and club ruff low.
Club ruff with the queen.
Diamond ruff (LHO followed up the line on the second diamond).
Spade AJ drawing trumps.
Concede 1 club, making six.
Jenn told me later that if she were in seven, she probably would have made it. Spades were 2-2, so she could have ruffed another club with dummy's king and drawn trumps with the AJ. This would have required either 2-2 spades or 3-1 with a stiff ten, plus getting back to her hand once more with a ruff, risking an overruff. Surely not worth the risk playing IMPs when the contract was 6, not 7. +980 pushed the board.