Will the tension of being in the ultimate contract — 7NT — distract you from the one possible problem? Will you see the need for care at trick 1? The declarer stayed focused.

Bidding
Dealer:South Love All
NorthEastSouthWest
2CNB
2DNB4NTNB
7NT

Using basic Acol, South opened 2C and re-bid 4NT, indicating 28-30pts. North daringly bid 7NT. Seeing the cards, it is easy, but how would you and you partner bid this grand slam?

West strangely picked 6♦ as his lead, although nothing makes any difference on this occasion. South counted 13 tricks unless spades broke 4-0. Importantly, as both J♠ and 10♠ are missing, those two cards will require two cards higher than them to be able to pick them up successfully, so declarer realised that if West held all four spades, he was doomed.

However, if East held them, he could still prevail. South appreciated that an extra entry to dummy must be maintained, so he won trick 1 in hand, carefully choosing K♦. He then led a low spade from hand and, when West showed out, South gritted his teeth and executed his plan. He won in dummy with A♠, and led 4♠. East inserted J♠ and South won with Q♠. He led 10♦ to dummy’s Q♦ so that he could lead a second low spade through East. Whether East plays 10♠ or 8♠, South could best it and pull East’s final spade, before claiming 13 tricks. Not everyone would have succeeded

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