Palmer overrode my greater familiarity with the course and took me out to four clubs. Considering our holdings in hearts, this move had some merit. I now had high hopes that Palmer held at least a six-card suit, so instead of playing safe with a bid of five, I decided to risk a slam and let Arnie really display his talents. What followed was an exercise of ability, nerve and just plain brass in a situation where nothing else would have sufficed.
Palmer trumped the heart lead and cashed the ace-king of diamonds. The fall of the queen was the first good break, yet it posed a problem. It would be risky to continue diamonds without drawing trumps, but if all the trumps were drawn Arnie would have no place to put his diamond loser. So, after drawing two rounds of trumps with dummy's ace-king, Palmer led to his diamond jack. Nicklaus couldn't ruff, so one obstacle had been successfully negotiated. More luck was now needed.
After ruffing his fourth diamond, Palmer could not afford to come back to his hand by trumping a heart before he had tried to establish a spade trick, so he had to play for a spade split. He cashed dummy's ace-king and led a third spade. The queen and jack fell together. Then, after ruffing the heart return, Arnie had his high trump with which to draw East's jack and a good spade with which to chalk up the little slam.
"Pretty lucky lie," he admitted afterwards. "I hope I get a few like that tomorrow." But by then it was already tomorrow. And, as just about everybody knows, he didn't. That game went to Nicklaus.
It doesn't hurt to occasionally be a bridge-playing Palmer and ignore the risks. If it accomplishes nothing else, it may lure your opponents into doubling many of your more conservative bids in the future.