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Becker bridge A test of prowess

A reader sent this deal, on which he bid and made seven hearts. North’s three-club bid guaranteed the ace, so South bid seven hearts straightaway.

It’s not easy to see how South made the grand slam, and if you’d like to test your prowess, stop reading right here.

Declarer ruffs the diamond lead in dummy, then ruffs a spade, a diamond, a spade, another diamond and another spade. He then plays three rounds of trumps, producing this position:

North

[S] 8

[C] A 9 8

West

[S] K

[C] Q 10 4

East

[D] 8 7 6

[C] 5

South

[H] J

[C] K J 6

South now leads his last trump, whereupon West is squeezed. If he discards the king of spades, dummy’s eight becomes a trick; if he discards a club, declarer’s third club becomes good. Either way, South makes the grand slam.

It might seem excessively dramatic to trump the A-K-Q of diamonds in dummy, but if declarer neglects to do this, he cannot make the grand slam.

The purpose of the spade ruffs is to exhaust one defender of that suit and so place the burden of guarding against dummy’s fourth spade on the other defender. If that defender also has three (or four) clubs including the queen, he will not be able to discard successfully. Nothing can be lost by this maneuver, though it will prove to be useless if the spades are divided 5-4.

In that case, South can always fall back on a favorable club division and will be no worse off for having given himself an extra chance for the contract. Two chances are better than one.

Bridge club results

The Northampton Bridge Club welcomes anyone who wishes to play duplicate bridge. Open pairs game: 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 1 Atwood Drive, Northampton. The club manager is available at 253-3508 to assist players in need of partners. The club’s website is www.northamptonbridgeclub.com

There were 12 tables in play November 6.

North-South, overall winners: Alan Peterfreund-Norman Brown, 60.62; Don Weld-Paul Laliberte, 59.86; Myrna Butler-Bernard Miller, 57.63; Philippe Galaski-Timothy Joder, 56.49; Paul Bacon-John Sedgwick, 54.05; Donald Abel-Esther Bean, 52.56; Strata B: Alan Peterfreund-Norman Brown, 60.62; Strata C: Alan Peterfreund-Norman Brown, 60.62;

East-West, overall winners: Sonja Smith-David Rock, 61.73; Sally Gauthier-Richard Gauthier, 55.10; Kate Spencer-Anton Dutton, 54.76; Barry LaFlam-Richard McClure, 52.32; James Osofsky-Markus Wagner, 51.83; Lenora Lee Levin-Anne McCune, 50.62; Strata B: Sally Gauthier-Richard Gauthier, 55.10; Strata C: Sally Gauthier-Richard Gauthier, 55.10

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