Maritha Pottenger

Spot cards can be very important if we pay attention. You hold 763 AK96 AJ3 1043 and partner opens 1. You bid 1 and partner bids 1. So you bid 3NT. The lead is the 10 (possibly from 5 since your partner bid the suit; possibly just looking for a "safe" lead). Dummy comes down with: AKQ5 87 Q876 AJ7. You play the A and the Jack falls on your right. Now we are sure that LHO has led from 109842.

Play a low diamond toward your Q. Remember this card combination—do NOT play the Queen toward AJx unless you own the Ten. You are hoping for the Kx on your right. The Q holds the trick. Now you can lead your precious the 7—planning to let it ride if LHO fails to cover. LHO plays the 9 and you take the K. Diamond to your A. The K does NOT fall. Play the 6; LHO covers with the 8 and now dummy's the 5 is a good card. You duck a diamond and find them 3-3, so you end up with four spades, two hearts; three diamonds and one club.


You open 1 with AKQ2 J76 K10642 8 and partner bids 1. You bid 1 and partner bids 2—Fourth Suit Forcing (to game). You rebid 2, showing 3-card heart support. Partner now bids 2NT. Since you are in a game force, this is a clear "Anything else to tell me, partner?" inquiry. You bid 3, completing your pattern. Partner bid 4 (Minorwood—inquiring for Key Cards in diamonds). You show two without the Queen and partner gently deposits you in 6 with the K lead.

Dummy: 10 A932 AJ52 A642. This is not the best slam in the world, but it is far from the worst. You will need 2-2 diamonds, not only to avoid losing the Q, but also because you need to discard two of dummy's hearts on your high spades, and still have two trumps in dummy to ruff one heart and a spade (after you lose a heart); plus three diamonds in your hand to ruff dummy's three clubs under the A. It's your lucky day because the 40% slam comes home.