By Bob Klein
Hi again everyone. I haven't posted for a while but I plan to start doing so again.
Jenn and I just finished playing as teammates in Sacramento. I played with Dave Neuman; she played with Erwin Linzner. We finished fifth overall in the 2-day Swiss Teams, due in large part to this hand. We were in the final match. We were sitting seventh overall going into the last round. Our opponent was Debbie Rosenberg and some of her students. Debbie was sitting to my right. I was dealt the following with our side vulnerable:
I opened 1 Heart. Dave and I were playing Precision, so this showed less than 16 HCP. LHO overcalled 1 Spade. Dave bid 4 Clubs, a splinter bid showing at least 4 hearts and shortness in clubs. Since I was void in the opponents' suit, I decided to show some slam interest with a 4 Diamond cue bid. Dave bid 4NT, RKC for hearts. I replied 5NT, which showed him 2 keycards and a useful void
(a void in the opponents' suit is always considered useful). Dave signed off in 6 Hearts. LHO led the ace of clubs, and I looked at
The dummy was disappointing. Dave clearly was hoping I had the ace of clubs, so we could use the spades after losing to the ace. My void wasn't all that useful, and there was no obvious path to 12 tricks. It looked like I would have to get 4 diamond tricks, 5 heart tricks in my hand, and either 3 club ruffs in dummy or perhaps 2 ruffs and a trick with the club queen.
LHO shifted to the 6 of hearts at trick 2. I would have liked to win this in my hand to start ruffing the clubs, but there was a problem. Look at those heart spots. I was missing the 8 and 9. If I played dummy's seven and won in my hand with the jack, I could not use dummy's remaining trumps to ruff, as this would promote the 9 if the suit split 3-1. So I had to decide if I could prevail if I won in dummy. This would require using an extra entry to my hand to begin ruffing clubs. Fortunately, my void did serve a useful purpose: it enabled me to reach my hand by ruffing spades. So I won with dummy's ace, ruffed a spade and ruffed a club. On this trick, LHO dropped the jack. Now things were looking better. His opening lead was more likely from AKJ than from AJ. I played a diamond to the ace and ruffed another club. Sure enough, the king fell. Now that the queen was good, I was up to 11 tricks, and just had to negotiate the diamonds for 4 tricks and I would have 12. So I played dummy's last trump, LHO showing out. Now I could see my way to the right ending. Can you see it?
At this point, the remaining cards were:
LHO has shown out of both hearts and clubs. This meant that RHO began with 3 hearts and 5 clubs. If she had as many as 4 diamonds, this leaves her with only 1 spade. When I ruffed a spade in this position, RHO followed. Now I knew for sure that she didn't have 4 diamonds. Since LHO was marked with the ace of spades, if he had 4 diamonds he would be subject to a squeeze. I cashed my last trump to leave this position:
D J73 immaterial
Now came the queen of clubs, the deadly black widow! LHO was smitten. He couldn't throw the ace of spades, so he had to play a diamond, so my diamonds were good and the slam came home. We won 14 IMPs. I was pleased that when it was over, Debbie said one word: nice.