David Bird

The deal comes from the Lederer Memorial Trophy in London, won for the third time in a row by Zia Mahmood’s All-Star team. How would you play the small slam in spades after West leads the ten of clubs and East’s queen falls under dummy’s ace? Several successful declarers drew trumps in two rounds and then cashed the ace and king of hearts, throwing a diamond and a club from the South hand. They next played the jack and king of clubs and ruffed the fourth round of clubs, eliminating that suit. A trump to dummy was followed by the ten of diamonds, run to the West hand. After winning the trick, West had no good card to play. A diamond return would run into South’s A-J tenace. A third round of hearts would give a ruff-and-discard, allowing declarer to ruff in his hand and throw the last diamond from dummy. The technique employed is known as ‘elimination play’. By removing one or more suits from the scene, you can force a defender to assist you in one of the remaining suits. Here the trumps, hearts and clubs were eliminated and West was forced to assist declarer in diamonds. Almost every session you play will offer someone a possible elimination play. Look out for it whenever you have a big trump fit.

A rebid of 2H is forcing in your system and partner continues with a bid in the fourth suit. What would you say now?


Whether or not you play that a fourth-suit bid is forcing to game in general, it is certainly so when made at the three level. You have the strength to aim for a slam but no fit has been found. The best idea is to keep the bidding low with 3D. This makes it easy for partner to express support for one of your suits. You can head for a slam later, when you know whether there is a fit somewhere. 

Awards: 3D-10, 3S-7, 4NT-5, 3NT-3.

— Knight Features