Source: IBPA, Bulletins May 2010

“We need a slam, partner, any slam” snarled the Hideous Hog. “After your masterful bidding, play and defence we are over 1300 down. Just make sure that you are dummy. It is, after all, your forte.”

The Rueful Rabbit gulped nervously and fortified himself with a sip of his cherry brandy while Papa the Greek looked on with a sneer from the East seat. The Rabbit, South, sorted his cards and assessed his assets:

spade 5 2 heart suit A K 9 5 diamond suit A 9 club suit A K Q 8 2

The Hog opened one diamond and Papa passed disdainfully. Two clubs seemed to be a reasonable first step for the Rabbit. Karapet the Unlucky passed, looking as if the worst would happen.

“Three no trumps!” barked HH and sat back, looking every inch the declarer. Papa passed and RR, remembering the Hog’s slam injunction, decided that he would have to try and so he bid his second suit – four hearts.

“Four no trumps!” was even more forcefully expressed from the North seat.

As always, the Rabbit responded to four no trumps as Blackwood. As usual, he misbid. Furtively counting his aces and his bids on his fingers below the table, he ticked them off – “five clubs is one, five diamonds is two…”

And so he bid five hearts.

As the Hog pushed on with five no trumps, RR realised that he had misbid. With a squeal of dismay, he bid six hearts to show his three kings. At least the Hog would only have one thing to be angry about. Unhappily, the Hog resigned himself to being dummy and passed. Papa’s fertile imagination sprang to life. Nobody would double with his heart stack, so if he did, RR would take it as a Lightner double and start looking for Papa’s imaginery void. Anyway, nobody ever went broke doubling the Rabbit. Papa doubled.

The Rabbit passed guiltily, though he was reassured by the thought that he had undercounted his aces rather than overcounted them. The Hog redoubled with a snarl, not so much because he expected the Rabbit to make twelve tricks, but to show Papa that he, the Hog, was not to be be trifled with.

Karapet led the jack of spades, presumably expecting Papa to ruff. The Hog tabled his dummy with a look of contentment and deftly emptied Papa’s glass of Gevry Chambertin while the Greek was inspecting the dummy.

The Rabbit looked at the Hog’s cards and then checked his own. The result was horrifying. Not for the first time he had mis-sorted his cards. The cards in six hearts redoubled were:

aa

RR had carelessly seconded the king and five of diamonds to the heart suit.

Resignedly, he called for the ace of spades and was gratified to see Papa follow suit. Now if he could just cash some winners and maybe ruff something he might get out for only two or three down. With trembling fingers he pulled dummy’s spade king into the middle of the table and was doubly relieved to see Papa follow with the ten.

A hasty count assured RR that he couldn’t cash another spade so he turned his attention to diamonds, playing a small diamond to his ace. He realised too late that he had forgotten to play the queen first and now he couldn’t cash the king.

While he wondered what to do, the Rabbit absentmindedly played his three top clubs. Then, squaring his round shoulders, he went back to dummy’s diamond queen. Desperate to put off the moment when his trump shortage would be exposed to the Hog’s wrath, the Rabbit embarked upon a discovery play – he led the spade queen to discover if something good would happen. Papa however ruffed with the two, so the Rabbit over-ruffed.

By this time, I sensed that something strange was happening so I walked quickly round the table to see this position:aa

RR was about to take the opportunity to score his diamond king when he accidentally dropped the nine of diamonds on the table. Karapet hastily placed the ten on that and the Rabbit apprehensively ruffed it with the three of hearts, fully expecting the Greek to overruff. When he was unable to do so, even the Rabbit could see that he could not draw trumps, so led the eight of spades from dummy. Papa ruffed with the heart four and RR overuffed with the heart ace.

“What a relief,” he thought, “Ten tricks already and the king of trumps still to come. Only one off!”

He led the diamond king and sadly ruffed it small. Papa scored his eight of trumps but then, ignominiously, had to lead into the dummy’s king-jack tenace.

Six hearts, doubled and redoubled, made.

The above invention was inspired by board 20 in round 4 of the South West Pacific Teams. North-South can make a slam in every denomination. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.