9th March 2016

A deal from the Manchester Green Point Pairs on 5th March.
Dealer E Game All.

S A542
H Q7
D KJ93
C A54

S K10
D A7
C KQ98

Almost every table played in six notrump.  So long as hearts break no worse than 4-2 twelve tricks are on top.  But at pairs the overtrick is important.
Assume a heart lead.
What is the best line for the overtrick?
Looking at the North South hands do you want to be in seven notrump?


There are various chances for the overtrick.  Clubs breaking or Jx or 10x of clubs with West (if you guess that correctly) or the diamond finesse or various squeeze chances.  You can afford to play four rounds of hearts discarding a spade and a diamond from the North hand, but a fifth round would squeeze North.  Then test the clubs by playing king then ace.  If West plays the jack or ten on the second round you now have to take a view on the club position after taking the top diamonds (in case the queen drops), the fifth heart and the top spades ending in the North hand.  If nothing interesting happens on the second club try a third round in case they break and if not, play two spades ending in the South hand and the fifth heart, throwing a spade from dummy, then ace of diamonds and a diamond finessing if you can judge from the discards that West is overwhelmingly likely to hold the queen.

Seven notrump is probably where you want to be at pairs, the room is unlikely to miss slam with a combined 34 points and a five card suit.  The various chances make it over 70% to make thirteen tricks, though it is very hard to diagnose in the bidding that all the minor honours are working and the hands mesh very well.  Only three of twenty five pairs played in a grand slam.