December 22, 1969

# The Puzzle Of The Slams

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5. It appears that nothing can defeat the slam, so the first impulse is to draw trumps. But a lot of points are at stake, and every extra precaution is worthwhile. The distribution that can wreck the slam is a singleton heart in one hand and the singleton ace of spades in the other, allowing one defender to win the ace of trumps and give his partner a heart ruff. Stop all chance of such shenanigans by overtaking your king of clubs with the ace and discarding your ace of hearts on the queen of clubs before touching trumps. This hand and the next one are favorites of the noted British author, Victor Mollo (SI, Jan. 6), who has produced a bookful of them (How Good Is Your Bridge? Hart \$4.95).

8. Where's the puzzle? You can make seven spades by ruffing a couple of clubs in dummy. But that is exactly the source of the problem. You need only assure 12 tricks, if you can, against nearly any distribution. The possible fly in the ointment is finding either player with a singleton club, having the king of clubs ruffed and another trump returned. Now you have three club losers and only two trumps in dummy. To guard against even this slim possibility, you should forget about setting up your club suit and instead play to ruff dummy's losers, as in the previous hand. The king and ace of diamonds are followed by a diamond ruff, and dummy is reentered with a heart. The fourth diamond is ruffed with the queen of trumps, and the high heart followed by a heart ruff with the ace leaves dummy with three high trumps and two clubs. If all goes well, you will make 13 tricks, but even if someone ruffs a high club, 12 tricks are assured.