Looking back to a Seres grand slam

On this hand from the 1977 Far East championships, Tim Seres and his partner of choice, Dick Cummings, bid to 7S in the match against the new nation of Bangladesh:

Contract: 7S by South. Lead: S3.

NORTH
♠ KQT8
 AK74
 93
 A53

SOUTH
♠ AJ94
 T8
 AQ
 KQ742

Seres was declarer, South, and won the first trick with dummy’s S8. How should the play proceed from there?

Tim Seres (1/4/1925 – 27/9/2007) was sometimes described as  Australia’s living bridge legend. Like so many other of the big names in bridge in this country, he was not Australian-born, but following the death of his parents in World War II, he and his brother migrated from their native Hungary to Australia (via France and Vietnam) in 1947.

He obtained a job in a textile factory but would play bridge at night, and less than a year after his arrival he won the Australian National Championships. He became such a dominant force in Australian bridge that at one stage, the national team was selected in the following rather unusual fashion: Seres had automatic selection with a partner of his choice, joined by four other players who had passed through selection events.  

In this hand there are ten top tricks – four spades, two hearts, one diamond and three clubs. The long clubs have prospects and there could be a second trick in diamonds, although risking a grand slam on a finesse would not be much fun.

As usual, extra tricks can be made by ruffing in the “short hand”, the hand with fewer trumps. Here, of course, there is an equal number of trumps in each hand, and of equal quality too. In such a case, pick one hand as the short hand and score as many ruffs there as possible, while keeping the trumps in the other hand to draw trumps.

At this time there is not much that can be ruffed in the North hand but a couple of hearts can be ruffed by South, so Seres cashed the A-K of hearts and ruffed a heart.

It is necessary to get back to dummy to ruff another heart, and it will later be necessary to return to dummy again to draw trumps, so two entries will be needed, the CA and a trump. Use the CA now, before an opponent who may have a singleton club has a chance to discard it. After that, lead dummy’s other heart and ruff it with the SA, so that the SJ can next be led from hand and overtaken to get to dummy.

Everyone has followed to two rounds of trumps, so a third round of trumps now clears the suit, while declarer throws the DQ, leaving only the ace of diamonds and the K-Q-7-4 of clubs in hand. Time to set up the long suit! Cash the club honours, noting that West still has a club; not to worry, lead the C4 and ruff it, then back to hand with the DA to enjoy the last club.

Thus Seres came to his 13 tricks. It is just as well he did not rely on a diamond finesse or an even club break, as this was the complete hand:

          NORTH
          
 KQT8
          
 AK74
          
 93
          
 A53
WEST               EAST                          
 753               62                
 Q62               J953
 KJT               876542
 JT86              9
          SOUTH
          
 AJ94
          
 T8
          
 AQ
          
 KQ742

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