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Friendly, fun with a touch of skill

Peter Stocken of Yorkshire helps to run ARBC weekends under the leadership of his son Jack. Here is a fascinating deal he reports from our regular charming south-coast venue in Bosham. I have adapted the actual auction somewhat (which contained a Blackwood 4 NT and an ace-miscount by North). Our weekends are explicitly aimed at a gentle, intermediate level where mistakes are positively embraced and there is plenty of conviviality and chat.
Board Pairs
North Deals
None Vul
4 3
K 10 8 3
K Q 9
A 9 5 4
J 9 7 2
Q 7 6 4 2
8 5 4
W   E
Q 8 6 5
A J 9 5
10 8 7 6
A K 10
A J 10 7 3 2
K J 3 2
West North East South
  1 N Pass 3 1
Pass 4 2 Pass 5 3
Pass 6 4 Pass 7 5
Pass Pass Pass  
  1. Normally slam interested, for with most game-only hands, South prefers 3 NT.
  2. Must support withKQ9 and a side ace and king.
  3. Splinter jumps at the Five-level are always voids — and inherently grand slam tries.
  4. Ace-showing cue bid.
  5. May need a finesse for a queen.

West led a passive diamond — a trump lead is standard v a grand slam on grounds of safety. Declarer won dummy’s nine and led a low heart — perhaps East would commit the indiscretion of rising with the ace. No — East recalled the void-showing 5 bid and played low. Declarer ruffed the heart, crossed to the queen of diamonds (East discarding a spade) and ruffed a second heart. He was hoping the ace of hearts would ruff down in three rounds. He cashed the ace-king of spades, ruffed the ten of spades with dummy’s king of diamonds and ruffed a third heart. No ace of hearts had appeared but, in the ending across, he cashed his last diamond (drawing West’s), throwing a club from dummy. What could East discard.

A 9 5 4
Q 7
W   E
10 8 7 6
K J 3 2

East had to keep his ace of hearts to prevent dummy’s king from promoting, so away went a club. Declarer now led a low club and was pleased to see West’s queen pop up. He won dummy’s ace, returned to his king-jack, removing East’s clubs and scored the last trick with his lowly three. Thirteen tricks and grand slam made — via a heart-club squeeze on East.

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