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Try and make it

How would you go about trying to make six hearts on this deal after West’s king-of-clubs lead? The slam is easy enough to make if the trumps are divided 2-2, or if the clubs are divided 4-3, or if you get lucky and wangle a 12th trick out of the K-J of spades. But, granting all these possibilities, is there anything else you can do to help your cause?

The best line of play is to win the club king with the ace, ruff a club, lead a trump to the king and ruff another club. When West discards a spade on the third round of clubs, it puts an end to your hope of finding the clubs divided 4-3. Undaunted, you play a low diamond to the queen and ruff another club. You then lead a low diamond to the ace, and when everyone follows suit, the slam suddenly becomes ice-cold!

You ruff dummy’s last club with your jack of trumps, then overtake your remaining trump, the queen, with the ace. You finish up by discarding the jack of spades on the ten of trumps and cashing the K-J of diamonds to score 12 tricks.

In a sense, the outcome is contradictory. The hearts and clubs both broke unfavorably, and yet you made the slam. Usually, when you run into bad luck, you wind up with a bad result. Here you wound up with a good result.

The explanation for this oddity is that by ruffing four clubs in your hand, you were able to score seven trump tricks instead of only six. Since you started with 11 tricks — six hearts, four diamonds and one club -- the extra trump trick you manufactured was all you needed to bring home the slam.

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 Aug. 13.

Overall winners: David Rock-Timothy Joder-Leo Sartori-Roger Webb, 61.00; John Sedgwick-James Hastings-Robert Sagor-Paul Bacon, 57.00; Steve Peck-Earl Waterman-Eva Cashdan-Sheldon Cashdan, 47.00; Arthur Franz-Prasanta Bhowmik-Marilyn Schmidt-Edward Hougen, 46.00; Ray Somerville-Elaine Dray-Muriel Dane-Myrna Butler, 45.00; Kevin Vance-Barbara Jackson-Jean Cernak-Judith Larsen, 43.00; Strata B: Steve Peck-Earl Waterman-Eva Cashdan-Sheldon Cashdan, 47.00

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