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Bridge 10/27
A tough slam, an easier lead
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    First, look at only the West hand. South is in six clubs. You know that South has a balanced 15-17 points and that North has a long club suit with slam interest. What would you lead?
    To be honest, most pairs would bid these South and North hands one no-trump - three no-trump. But six clubs is excellent, making when trumps are 2-2 (40 percent), or the heart finesse works (50 percent), or West finds a stupid lead (unquantifiable). Ignoring the lead possibility, six clubs has a 70 percent chance.
    In this auction, North used a transfer to clubs. South's rebid said that he was not fond of clubs. Then, when North bid three no-trump anyway, he was expressing slam interest in clubs — a well-timed overstatement of the value of his hand. (If North only wanted to play in three no-trump, he would have bid it immediately over one no-trump, not shown his long suit.)
    Against six clubs, West should lead the club queen. This looks totally clear-cut. Anything else is too dangerous. After that lead, declarer would have to guess very well to make his slam.
    At the table, West chose the spade jack, which was far too risky — and fatal with this layout. Declarer won with his ace, drew one round of trumps, played three rounds of diamonds, ruffing the last in his hand, crossed to dummy with a trump, and played a spade to his nine. When West followed suit, South led his spade king and discarded one of dummy's hearts. He lost only one trick — a trump.
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