You can see how useless Blackwood would be on the South had. Twelve tricks could be cold when North holds only one ace. If you bid Blackwood and advance to the slam when North does show one ace, however, you could have two top club losers. South’s cue-bid of 5H was a better option and North, with controls in both minors, advanced to the small slam. Declarer won the diamond lead with the ace and played a trump to the ace, East showing out. Suppose you had been South. How would you have played from this point? Declarer had to aim for a 3-card ending where West held only Q-J-6 of trumps. He could then be end-played. West would need to hold three hearts and to be 3-3 or 4-2 in the minors. To play the hand successfully, declarer needed to guess which. By about 6-to-4, the odds favour West being 3-3. Declarer played three top hearts, a club to the queen, and the diamond king throwing a heart. He then ruffed a diamond in hand, crossed to the club ace, and ruffed a club in hand. Down to K-10 of trumps and a heart, he next led the heart. West was down to Q-J-6 of trumps with dummy poised to over ruff the 6 with the 8. He had to ruff high and lead into South’s trump tenace. Slam made!


What would you say now on the West cards?

If partner had nothing useful, you could easily lose five tricks when playing in spades. That’s because you will not be able to cross to dummy to lead towards your hand. I like 2S best. It is a slight underbid but the alternatives are likely to put you too high. A second double would show a strong hand but it would not tell partner about the five spades.
Awards: 2S-10, 3S/Dble-7, 2NT/2H-5, 4S/4C-3.

— David Bird (Knight Features)