Norths 4 NT was Roman Key-card Blackwood, with spades agreed as trumps. South’s 5D showed one key card, either the heart ace or the king of trumps. Since one key card was missing, North was willing to bid the slam only if partner held the queen of trumps. His bid of 5H asked about the trump queen. South would have signed off in 5S without the trump queen.

Holding that card, he jumped to 6 S. How would you play this contract when the jack of clubs is led to dummy’s ace? Suppose you play the ace of trumps at Trick 2, discovering the 4-0 brake. What next? The answer is that you will go one down. To make the slam you must ruff a diamond at Trick 2, reducing your trumps just in case the trumps are 4-0 onside. You then play a trump to the ace and ruff another diamond.

A successful finesse of the heart jack gains you an entry and you ruff yet another diamond, reducing your trumps to Q-10-8 over East’s K-J-9. You cross to the heart king and (at last!) play the ace of diamonds. If East ruffs with the king, you will throw a club and subsequently finesse against the trump queen. If instead he ruffs low, you will overruff., cross to the club king and play another high diamond. There is nothing East can do about it.


You have enough for game but cannot be sure which game. Partner surely has at least one four-card major for his take-out double. You should respond 4D, a cue-bid that passes the message ‘I am strong but do not know which suit we should play in.’
Awards: 4D-10, 4S or 4H-6, 3 NT-5, 3S or 3H-2.

David Bird — Knight Features