The one-club opening bid, when playing Precision, promises 16-plus high-card points, which says nothing about distribution. South’s three notrump bid showed a heart stopper with no long suit and typically 15 to 16 high-card points.
North’s four notrump bid was quantitative, which invited a slam. Now put yourself in South’s position. Perhaps you were a bit optimistic with your bid, but your side does have 33 high-card points. On the surface, it looks like you need the ace of diamonds. Is there another plan?
You have 11 top tricks and the possibility of leading up to dummy’s king of diamonds. If West has the ace of diamonds, you are home free. But East is sure to have the ace of diamonds to go with his six hearts. West did not lead his partner’s suit, likely because he does not have one. You can put pressure on West by running your winners.
With the opening lead in dummy, cash the king of hearts. West shows out and the queen of hearts, then unblock the top spades in dummy. Follow with the Jack of clubs and play a club back to your hand. Cash the black suit winners, down to the heart ace and 10 and the diamond king-seven in the dummy. On your fourth spade, discard the diamond nine. East now holds the Jack and nine of hearts and the ace and queen of diamonds — he is stuck. If he throws a diamond, you put him in with the bare ace of diamonds, then he is forced to lead into dummy’s 10 and ace of hearts. If he discards a heart, you play to dummy’s ace of hearts and 10 of hearts and concede a diamond at the end.
This is known as a squeeze without the count.
Donna Swan is a resident of Longboat Key, an ardent bridge player and an American Contract Bridge League certified director who plays “for the fun of it.”
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