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Posted on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, February 4: You need a trick; find that trick

By Philip Adler

Ingrid Bergman said, "A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous."

At the bridge table, if you find a lovely, extra, contract-fulfilling trick, especially in a grand slam, your partner will give you a metaphorical kiss. In this deal, South barrels into seven spades. After West leads the heart queen, how should declarer continue?

If South had used a second dose of Blackwood and learned that two kings were missing, he would have stopped in six spades and ruined a good story. (If you use Roman Key Card Blackwood, it is a good idea to treat an immediate response of four no-trump as regular Blackwood, not RKCB. To use RKCB in opener's suit, make a forcing raise, then bid four no-trump on the second round.)

When in a grand slam, count winners. Here, South has only 12: six spades, two hearts, one diamond and three clubs. Where might a 13th trick come from?

There is only one sensible chance: hearts. That requires a 4-3 heart break and three dummy entries: two for the heart ruffs in the closed hand and one to return to the dummy to cash the established heart. What are those entries?

They must be one heart and two clubs. So, after winning the first trick on the board, declarer must not touch trumps. He must immediately cash the second heart winner (discarding a diamond from hand) and ruff a heart. Then he draws trumps, plays a club to dummy's queen, ruffs another heart, leads a club to the ace, and pitches his second low diamond on the last heart.

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