An orderly route to slam

August 26, 1962

Some hands are easy to play because they present only a single problem. Others are difficult because the declarer has a number of possibilities to consider; but even these complex hands become much easier if you take on only one problem at a time, being sure you start out with the proper move.

As an example, here is a hand I watched New York Builder Percy Uris play for a grand slam during a weekend rubber bridge game at the summer place of Abe Wechsler, coffee merchant turned restaurateur. I happened to be cut out. Lord Sholto Douglas, board chairman of British European Airways, was Uris' partner; Wechsler was paired with Lester Bachner, attorney and member of the board of the Dreyfus Fund. Although not widely known in tournament circles, all play an expert brand of bridge.

North's jump bid in a new suit showed a sure game and a possible slam. After South rebid his diamonds, North knew his partner had 10 cards in the red suits. With South's black-suit losers certainly taken care of by his own top cards, North correctly estimated his fillers in the red suits as worth the jump to slam. The course of the bidding assured South that his partner held the king of hearts, so he carried on to bid the grand slam.

On winning the opening lead with dummy's king of spades, South exhibited perfect technique by solving one problem at a time, in the proper order. First on the list was the trump suit. If either opponent held five trumps, South could do something about it providing his first lead revealed that player to be East. So, at trick 2, North's king of hearts was cashed. When both opponents followed, declarer was assured that neither could hold more than four trumps, so he could afford at least one spade ruff. He led a low spade from dummy and trumped it.

South's next task was to find out whether East held four trumps originally, in which case a finesse against the heart jack would be needed. So Uris laid down the ace of hearts and, when everybody followed, he also cashed the queen, drawing East's last trump.

Now it was time to think about the diamond suit. South had already discarded one diamond on the first spade. He had a readymade discard for another on North's spade ace. The third diamond loser would disappear if dummy's last spade could be set up. If not, South could still hope to finesse for the queen of diamonds or drop it. He moved in the latter direction by cashing the diamond ace. Next, he led to dummy's king of clubs, cashed the spade ace and discarded another diamond. Then he led the fourth round of spades and trumped it. When the spades split, South simply went to dummy's high club, discarded another diamond on the long spade and made the last two tricks and the grand slam. It would have been easy to fall into the trap of trying to cash two top diamonds, then discarding dummy's third diamond on the queen of clubs and ruffing a diamond. Or the alternate trap of relying on the diamond finesse. Obviously, neither of these lines would have succeeded.

EXTRA TRICK
There's no such thing as an extra trick if you bid a grand slam. But there can be an extra chance to make that vital 13th trick, and it pays big dividends to find it.

ILLUSTRATION

Both sides vulnerable South dealer

NORTH

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]

WEST

[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[5 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[7 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

EAST

[8 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH
(Uris)

1 [Heart]
3 [Diamond]
4 [Diamond]
7 [Heart]

WEST
(Bachner)

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH
(Douglas)

2 [Spade]
4 [Club]
6 [Heart]
PASS

EAST
(Wechsler)

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: queen of spades

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)