More Than One Way To Skin A Cat by Sam Leckie (Scotland)

At favorable vulnerability, North opens 4H and eventually East-West reach 6NT on these cards:

                     S KT9     S A52
                     H AT      H J2
                     D AQ96    D K72
                     C KT54    C AQ983

North leads the HK. There are three possible lines of play (all of which work if diamonds are 3-3):

1. To duck the first heart and thus rectify the count, hoping to squeeze South in diamonds and spades.  This works when South holds four diamonds and five spades or four diamonds and any number of spades with the QJ.

Mrs Landy, ex-Ladies World Champion and in the British Ladies team here, opts for this line. "I am a simple player and always take the obvious line," she remarked.

2. To take the first trick with the HA and play on clubs. North is void. The continuation is to play off the clubs and diamonds; if South holds four diamonds, he will be thrown in to open up the spade suit. You will now have to guess whether or not the honors are split if South exits with the SJ or SQ.

Patrick Jourdain, Welsh international and IBPA Editor likes this play. "I can never resist a throw-in and I'm bound to
work out the spade position," he commented.

3. Again, take the first round of hearts and play five rounds of clubs pitching the HT from dummy. Assuming North has eight hearts, then he is likely to be 3-2 in diamonds and spades. A diamond is played to the Queen and the S9 passed to South.  Whatever South returns, by playing the SAK you have a complete count of North's hand. The contract is thus made if North holds Jx or Tx in diamonds.

Tony Priday, Bridge Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph and Captain of the British Ladies team, likes this one "because I don't think I would have thought of it at the table," he confessed.

The full deal was:

E/W Vul. Dealer North.

                         S 743
                         H KQ987654
                         D J8
                         C -
               S KT9               S A52
               H AT                H J2
               D AQ96              D K72
               C KT54              C AQ983
                         S QJ86
                         H 3
                         D T543
                         C J762

As the cards are, all plays work provided you guess the spade position. In variation 2, when South plays the Jack or Queen.

Personally, my only worry about the last two variations is that they are dependent on North starting with eight hearts. If he has only seven, does anyone know how to say "Sorry, lads" in Portuguese?