During the last weekend in July, in Toronto, a trials was held to select the United States World Junior Team. Our eponymous ex-columnist was among the six chosen, as were two others from Southern California. The final team is Leni Holtz and Jeff Ferro, Sam Dinkin and Mike Shuster, and Eric Greco and Kevin Wilson. Sam brought home a very aggressive grand slam in the final session of the trials to earn himself a berth on the team.
S: AK106
H: AKJ93
D: 42
C: 42
S: 42
H: ---
D: AKQ1075
C: AQ963
The bidding deserves some comment, mostly derisive. The first two bids were normal, but North's second call was a reverse, showing more strength than he held in practice. It seems as if he thought that he held the C:K throughout the bidding. 3C: was Fourth Suit Forcing and artificial, and did not promise clubs, but promised significant extra values. North was stuck and chose to give a preference on a small doubleton rather than rebid his fine hearts. South came out of the bushes showing a real minor two suiter with 4C:. North cue-bid the heart Ace, and South the club Ace. North then made a grand slam try by cue-bidding his alleged C:K, showing the S:A by implication. Opposite two Aces, the C:K, and diamond support, South knew the grand was excellent, so he bid it. West led a small spade and a rather disappointing dummy was revealed.

Assuming that trumps break, eleven tricks are clearly available in the form of six diamonds, the club Ace, and two Ace-Kings. The 12th is available via the club hook or the heart Queen coming down tripleton. If that happens, then the club finesse or many other squeezes might make 13 tricks. If declarer takes the club finesse, he can get a 13th trick by either ruffing a club in dummy or via a squeeze, the most likely of which is a double squeeze around spades, though heart-club or spade-club simple squeezes are possible. What is the best line?

Clubs 3-3 with the King onside is a trifle under 18%. The heart queen dropping is almost exactly the same---just a bit under 18%, but is inferior to clubs because the hand is not over yet even if he finds the heart Queen. The squeezes are a little harder to compute. If clubs are 3-3 (35.53%) then East and West need to have sole guard over one of the majors and declarer must guess the position. If East has four clubs to the King, however, then if he has five spades (unlikely on the lead) or five hearts or four hearts with the Queen, he can be squeezed. That comes to about 10%. If East has four clubs (including the King) and West has the heart guard, then a double squeeze around spades arises. That is about 8%. Is it possible to combine chances somehow? Perhaps. The opponents are looking bored, and it is unlikely to cost to cash two heart tricks right away.

On the second heart, East drops the ten without much thought. This looks like a true card; how does that affect the odds? Greatly. This means that the heart Queen is very likely to drop; if not, hearts are guarded in the West, so the double squeeze is competitive. It must be best to ruff a heart and run the trumps. Either a real squeeze or a defensive error is likely to occur. On the third heart, the Queen does appear and the slam is home when trumps break in a civilized fashion.

As the cards lay, this was the only winning line, and the reward for getting it right was a trip to Copenhagen.

Jeff Goldsmith, jeff@tintin.jpl.nasa.gov