Unusual Path to Slam

With the annual Trumps Winter Teams coming up this Sunday, we look back at the 2004 Trumps Winter Teams. This featured some existing national champions, but also strong performances by up-and-coming players the Edgtton brothers Adam (14) and Nabil (13), who went on to national and even international wins.

On the hand below, the slightly older Anthony Newman (21-year-old son of bridge teacher/expert John Newman) finished in an ambitious slam - but made it. Looking only at the North-South hands, plan the play in 6H.


NS vulnerable, dealer West.


S AQ954

H AT862



WEST                        EAST

S 86                          S KT7

H K                            H J54

D K9542                    D T86

C K7642                    C T953


S J32

H Q973

D J73



W         N         E          S

2NT     3D       4C       4H

P          6H       All pass


The auction requires explanation. West’s 2NT opening was not of the normal type, showing around 21 HCP and balanced shape, but instead showed a weak hand with at least five cards in each minor. This “Unusual notrump” is widely played as an overcall, but some players take things a step further and use the opening bid of 2NT to show the same sort of hand, as here.


With the opponents showing long minors, it would be silly to use a 3C or 3D interpose in any natural sense. There are various alternative meanings available, but this pair had agreed that 3D showed a strong hand with both majors, while 3C would show majors but a weaker hand. The rest of the auction was natural.


West led a club. After winning the CA, Anthony rightly called for the HA, and brightened up when West’s HK fell. Clearly this must be a singleton, so the marked finesse was taken against East’s HJ, and the last trump was drawn.


The spade finesse lost, but declarer was safe. On the fourth and fifth rounds of spades, the two losing diamonds were discarded from the South hand and twelve tricks rolled home.