An Endplay for the New Year 

The north player's surprise at hearing her partner overcall in hearts was exceeded only by the speed with which she bid a small slam. The unfortunate (for the declarer) lie of the cards meant there was an inevitable spade or club loser, and she managed to lose both because in the play of the hand, she trumped out her diamond queen and played on clubs before testing the spade suit.

If she had considered the fact that she was looking at 31 high card points in her hand and the dummy, meaning that east had to have almost everything else for his bid, she might have hit upon the play to make 12 tricks. All she has to do is draw trumps and play two rounds of spades. If the five missing cards split 3-2 as they usually do, she would give up a club and claim her contract. When the spades don't break and she has an inevitable loser in that suit, the winning play is then to return to hand to lead the diamond queen and throw the small spade on it. East is properly skewered because he must either lead a diamond for a ruff-and-sluff for declarer, or he must lead away from his king of clubs and yield a trick to the queen. Slam bid and made.

We hope you had a happy celebration of the New Year and have resolved to play more bridge this year. I have made that resolution, as well as adopting the intention to learn more about this wonderful game. See you at the table.

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