Friday, December 2, 2011

Grand slam when a misplay doesn't cost

Sometimes, misplays don't cost you.  Here's one (click on "lakshmanok" in the hand diagram to hide the other hands and click "next" to follow the action")

After a straight-forward 2/1 auction and checking for aces and kings, partner puts me in the grand  slam.

It seems to be a straight-forward guess for the queen of diamonds.

I play out the hearts and clubs and learn that East started with four hearts and two clubs. His lead of the 9 without the 8 seems to indicate that he has two spades, so he must have all five remaining diamonds.

I have misplayed the hand.  I should have ruffed my club loser before pulling hearts to cater to the 5-0 diamond distribution.  Resigned, I play my King of diamonds and to my shock, west plays the queen underneath!  The grand slam contract was cold all along.  Of course, if East had four spades, I would played him for the diamond queen (3-2 odds) and gone one down.

p.s. my first grand slam (as declarer) as far as I can remember ... most of my regular partners don't bid grand unless they can count 13 tricks.


  1. East probably doesn't have 5 diamonds on this auction, since that would mean West passed throughout with 7-1-0-5 distribution and KQ of spades.

    But if he does, you can still make at this point by playing the J under the K and then finessing the 8.

  2. Brian,

    Thanks for the comment. You are right -- it's highly unlikely that west wouldn't preempt when non-vul holding 5 points and 7 spades.

    If East has 5 diamonds, all is lost. I need four finesses before the queen drops and I have only 3 diamonds.

    There is another reason that I need to ruff the club. That way, I can get a count of the diamonds and if necessary, take a finesse the other way. I need only 3 diamond tricks.