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The good times continue in 1991, during which Tony Forrester and I spend almost half the year globetrotting. The year kicks off with high placings in the Cap Gemini (2nd), and Sunday Times/Macallan (4th), and reaches a peak in Killarney, Ireland, in the summer.

Tony and I spear-head a British Team victory - by a record ever margin - in the biennial European Team Championships, considered by many to be the toughest event in the World calendar. I have always regarded this as my greatest ever achievement.

This Killarney deal sees your author declare a Six Diamond slam that depends on avoiding two club losers. The simple approach is to lead to dummy’s queen, but there were options if the king of clubs was offside (i.e. with East). Where was that all-important king?

South Deals
Both Vul
K Q 6
K 7 2
K 9 7 4
Q 9 4
10 8
J 10 9 6
J 6 3
10 8 6 2
W   E
9 7 5 4 3
Q 8 5 4
K J 7
A J 2
A 3
A Q 10 8 5
A 5 3
West North East South
Pass 3 NT Pass 6 
Pass Pass Pass


Winning the heart lead with the ace, I drew trumps, cashed spades, then eliminated hearts by crossing to the king and leading a third round. I noted that East, known to hold the queen of hearts from West’s opening lead of the jack, refrained from playing it. This was surely an indication that he didn’t want to be endplayed with the card, forced to lead away from his king of clubs.

Placing the crucial king with East, I ruffed the third heart and led a club to West’s low card and dummy’s nine (key play). East won the jack but was now endplayed to lead away from his king (around to dummy’s queen), or lead a major (enabling me to ruff in one hand and discard a club from the other). 12 tricks and game made.

Note that West could have given me an awkward guess by inserting the ten of clubs. Would I have covered with dummy’s queen, playing his partner for the jack (the winning option); or ducked (playing West for the jack)?

In truth, I did nothing brilliant, and would argue that our positive swing on the deal (slam failed in the other room) was at least as much due to the brilliance of team-mate John Armstrong (East). For when a third heart was led from the dummy (declarer playing identically to me), John rose with the queen, feigning indifference to being endplayed. Now placing the king of clubs with West, declarer ruffed and led a club to dummy’s queen. East won the king and returned the suit, ensuring that the defence came to a second trick in the suit. Down one

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