What made Saturday afternoon the most satisfying of my rounds with Selina Volpatti was our two top boards – a pair of slams that I bid and brought home. The first was on Board 27, played at 6 No Trump. I’m East. Here are the hands.
Spades: A-J-5; Hearts: K-5; Diamonds: K-Q-8-3-2; Clubs: A-J-2
Spades: Q-10-3; Hearts: Q-7; Diamonds: A-5; Clubs: K-Q-8-6-5-4
Spades: K-7-6-2; Hearts: A-10-9-4; Diamonds: J-6-4; Clubs: 7-3
Spades: 9-8-4; Hearts: J-8-6-3-2; Diamonds: 10-9-7; Clubs: 10-9
Nobody’s vulnerable. South was dealer and passed. Selina opened a Club. North passed. With 18 high-card points, I figured we had something big, so I kept things slow by bidding 1 Diamond. Selina came back with 2 Clubs. Maybe we have something really big. Six Club tricks, for sure. I jumped to 4 No Trump, asking for Aces. Five Diamonds, she bid, indicating one. OK, we’ll lose one trick, I reckoned. Six No Trump.
North led the Ace of Hearts. Terrific. There’s our loser. I won the second Heart, tried the Diamonds first and ran five tricks when they broke evenly, tossing the dummy’s Spades and eliminating the need to try the Spade finesse (which wouldn’t have worked). Then came the six Club tricks.
According to the hand record, it also makes 6 Clubs and 6 Diamonds and a couple East-Wests must have gone that route, because the scores included a couple 920s. Four others stopped at 3 NT, one of them taking all 13 tricks (at 3 NT, you wouldn’t get an Ace of Hearts lead). And one unfortunate didn’t bid game in the minor suits.
The other slam – 6 Hearts on Board 16 – was even more satisfying. Nobody else bid this slam and only one East-West took 12 tricks, even though the hand record says it will make 6 NT, 6 Spades and 6 Hearts. East-West is vulnerable. West is dealer.
Spades: A-J-9-3; Hearts: A-K-5-4-3-2; Diamonds: 7; Clubs: A-J
Spades: K-Q-10-7-6; Hearts: J-9-6; Diamonds: K-J-5; Clubs: 10-5
Spades: 8-4-2; Hearts: 10-7; Diamonds: Q-10-6-3; Clubs: K-Q-8-4
Spades: 5; Hearts: Q-8; Diamonds: A-9-8-4-2; Clubs: 9-7-6-3-2
I opened a Heart, Selina bid a Spade. I believe South bid the unusual 2 No Trump, showing a 5-5 holding in the minors. I bid 3 Spades. Selina went 4 Hearts. Banking on a windfall from distribution, I went straight to 6 Hearts.
What was North’s opening lead? I don’t recall, but it may have been a low Diamond, which South would have taken with the Ace. From there, it hinged on how the trump suit broke. Happily, it was 2-2. I tossed my losing Club on the good King of Diamonds.