7NT on Two Finesses

7NT on Two Finesses — Both Fail, But Hog Makes Slam!

“I heard you brought home an iniquitous grand slam this afternoon,” said Oscar the Owl, our senior kibitzer, as he sat chatting with the Hideous Hog in the Griffins Club bar.
“It couldn’t have been as bad as all that,” countered the Hideous Hog. “After all, it depended at worst on one of two finesses.”
“A grand slam on one of two finesses?” repeated O.O. incredulously. “Impossible. What if the first one fails?”
“Then I don’t take it of course,” retorted HH. “Who do you think I am? Papa?”
The Owl wasn’t convinced. “Even if you somehow divined which finesse to take, a grand slam on a finesse . . .”
“No, no,” broke in the Hog. “I said the contract was at worst on one of two finesses. In the actual case, both were wrong.”
“Then how did you know what not to do?” persisted the Owl.
“I tried both finesses,” explained HH, who was beginning to grow impatient with Oscar’s unimaginative approach, “but both were wrong, I rejected them and . . .”
“I didn’t see the hand,” interjected O.O. “I only heard about it, but I still don’t understand how you took two finesses, found them wrong, untook them, so to speak, and still made the grand slam. Perhaps you’d show me the hand.”
The Hog searched his pockets for a bit of paper. Dismissing a couple of crumpled bills in favor of a letter someone had asked him to post, he put down the North-South hands.

Dlr: North ♠ Q
Vul: N-S Q
A Q 10 8 6 3 2
♣ K 7 5 2
♠ A J 10
A J 10
K J 4
♣ A 6 4 3
Walter the Walrus
2 Pass 3♣
Pass 4♣ Pass 4NT
Pass 5 Pass 5NT
Pass 6 Pass 6
Pass 6♠ Pass 7NT
All Pass

“Too ambitious,” observed O.O. “Surely 6 would have been enough.”
“If you expect partner to make 12 tricks, you will, I hope, give me credit for making one more,” rejoined the Hog with spirit. “We can hardly play in diamonds, though, since that would make my partner declarer. Mind you, my 6 bid gave him the chance to call 7♣ if his clubs were good enough. No one can accuse me of being selfish.”
“Who was partner?” enquired O.O.
“Immaterial,” replied the Hog. “Some honest plodder who bids what he thinks he’s got and it’s right half the time. Can’t remember the name though I expect he had one. What’s more important is that I had Walter the Walrus on the right, and on my left, none other than Papa the Greek.”
“I can see only 11 ticks,” said O.O., studying the hands.
“True,” agreed the Hog, “eleven tricks plus the Walrus. That should suffice, especially as Papa usually manages to find a clever lead. This time he didn’t. He picked on a diamond which didn’t help at all. So I started with the spade finesse.”
“But. . .” began O.O.
“Exactly,” agreed the Hog, “the king was wrong. The Walrus, who regards covering honors as a matter of moral rectitude, like revering one’s parents or leading the fourth highest or paying one’s taxes — within reason of course — well, that Walrus didn’t do so much as blink. So I went up with the ♠A, crossed to the dummy and tried the heart finesse. Again the Walrus played smoothly with that vacuous, bovine look which a more subtle player might put on to conceal something. Clearly, he didn’t have the K either, so once more I had to go up with the ace.”
The Owl shook his head. “Not so good now,” he remarked.
“On the contrary,” retorted the Hog, “prospects have improved visibly. Had the Walrus been endowed with the king in either major, he might have just had the sense, after a long trance, not to cover, and that would have left me a trick short. But once I knew Papa had both kings, the contract became little worse than an even money chance. All I needed was to find him with three or more clubs. And for once there was a speck of justice in the world for he did have three clubs.
“Can’t think why people use such small envelopes,” murmured HH, filling in the East-West hands.
This was the full deal:

Dlr: North ♠ Q
Vul: N-S Q
A Q 10 8 6 3 2
♣ K 7 5 2
♠ K 8 4 2 ♠ 9 7 6 5 3
K 9 6 2 8 7 5 4 3
7 5 9
♣ Q 10 9 ♣ J 8
♠ A J 10
A J 10
K J 4
♣ A 6 4 3

“As you can see,” went on the Hog, “all I had to do was play out the diamonds, leaving dummy with four clubs and myself with the ♠J, J and ♣A 6. The last diamond reduced Papa to four cards and to keep three clubs he had to part with one of his kings. Whichever it was, I would cash the jack of that suit and squeeze him again.
“What did Papa say? asked O.O.
“He called it an elementary automatic progressive squeeze which he foresaw as soon as dummy went down,” replied HH. “The Walrus went one better. Having one miserable point, he knew his fate, he said, even before seeing dummy.”