Barnet Shenkin

Can you play a Grand Slam? by barnet shenkin prev/next

Dlr: North
Vul: all


   1♠ 2 ♥
 3 ♣
 P 4 ♥

 P 5 ♥
7 ♣ 


 This hand was played in a junior match between France and Poland .Put yourself In the South chair and try and make your grandslam on the lead of each of the three suits. First  try the lead of the ♥ 7   Then try the lead of the ♦10. Then try a trump lead - what if East follows, and what if he shows out  ?
It looks natural to try and set up Dummy's spades. Even if the spades are divided 4-1 you can play . ♠ Ace  spade ruff high . Trump to Dummy, spade ruff high draw trumps and claim. This plan succeeds when spades break no worse than 4-1 and trumps break no worse than 3-1. This is well thought out as far as it goes but what if trumps break 4-0. Then  you will be unable to enjoy Dummy's long spades and need an alternative plan. It does not cost to play out a high trump at trick 2. You can still set up Dummy' s spades with 2 entries remaining in trumps. When trumps are 4-0 then you need a little luck. You can ruff 2 hearts in dummy to give you 12 tricks and look what happens next.. Click next below to see how by taking your extra chance you can survive the bad break.

  On   a heart lead you see how to make it if the trumps split no worse than 3-1. But you must, as above take in account the possibility they are 4-0. The key play, is to cash a high trump at trick 2 and it must be the ace ,or the Q.  This means you have the entries to ruff 2 hearts draw trumps and squeeze East. On a trump lead you see immediately if they split. If they split you set spades up . If they don't split you play as above .What on a diamond lead.?
Now on a diamond lead you have lost an entry to hand . You are unable to draw one trump to see if they split . If they don't split, you can no longer proceed with option 2 , the squeeze. Try it and see. This means you have to pick a line . Either play for trumps to split or the squeeze.As the trumps splitting is around 90 percent you should try and set up spades using the trumps as entries. When this does not work, you have to go down.Here you made a good operation but the patient died. It was the dastardly lead which cost you your contract. This is what happened in this match. One side led a trump and declarer made it . One side led a diamond and declarer went down.

I   had the good fortune to see  this hand posted showing the fine play of the French declarer ,in Le bridgeur an excellent French bridge magazine.