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In a grand slam, find 13 winners

By Phillip Alder | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-15 07:40

Rube Goldberg, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1948, is best known for a series of cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways.

Some bridge players can get like that, thinking in convoluted ways instead of in straight lines. In today's deal, for example, how should South play in seven hearts after West leads the club king?

First, note South's four-heart jump advance of his partner's takeout double. Remember that a bid of three hearts would have promised nothing (although North would have assumed his partner had six or seven points). So, South's jump suggested 9-11 points, which is what he had! Now North, envisioning a slam, used two doses of Blackwood. He would have felt much more comfortable using Roman Key Card Blackwood, because he would have known about South's heart king-queen. (South would have replied five spades to four no-trump to show the trump queen and two key cards, an ace and the trump king, or two aces.) Still, North was confident that his partner would not have the club ace and king, so took a slight chance on the heart suit in jumping to the grand slam.

Declarer has 11 top tricks: two spades, five hearts, three diamonds and one club. He cannot establish an extra winner anywhere, so must ruff two clubs on the board to bring his trick total up to 13. South should win with his club ace, ruff a club high, cross back to hand with a trump, ruff another club high, draw trumps and claim.

In a grand slam, find 13 winners

(China Daily 04/15/2017 page20)

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