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'Curious hand' said Oscar....
(Page of 2)

West
J63
1085
A6
J9642
North
AK5
AK73
QJ942
3
East
8
QJ942
K10873
Q7
South
Q109742
6
5
AK1085
W
N
E
S
 
1
1
1
2
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5
P
6
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Some people give you good hands, some bad. You can always rely on Jay Stiefel to produce splendid problems. But today's features something unusual -- at least to me. Readers are invited to project the play on the given auction. Given that Jay brought home his slam, what if anything was curious about the play? (I think it is unusual but I'm prepared to be told it isnt so strange...)

For those of you who don't want to work too hard the details of the play are on the next page.

(ADDED) West led a heart; sue him!

On the merciful heart lead, Stiefel pitched his diamond loser at once. Now how do you cope with the potential bad splits? The question is not simply whether to cash the ace and king of clubs or just one of them, before embarking on the cross-ruff, but also whether to trump diamonds at once or delay the process. 

Jay actually cashed the ace of clubs and ruffed a club, dropping East’s queen, which served as a wake-up call that the clubs might well be splitting in very hostile fashion. Now he ruffed a diamond, ruffed a club high (as East threw a heart), trumped a diamond on which West produced the ace, and ruffed another club with dummy’s last spade. At this point he knew that West had a 3-3-2-5 shape.

Jay ruffed a heart, cashed the queen of spades and exited with the ten of spades. West now had the lead, but in truly exasperating fashion in the two-card ending he was helpless, since he had a small trump and losing club, and thus had to concede the rest to declarer. 

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