The slam

The slam in a game of tarot with 4 players is very rare and rather uninteresting because it requires a hand with no losers to succeed. At 5 players, it is more frequent and can be realized in various types of play and with hands containing several losers. In the majority of cases, an aggressive play with the trumps is necessary at the beginning of the play. This is why we see much less slam on tables of beginning players. Those players in general are rather timid with the powerful hands with strong trumps holding.

For those which wonder, the small slam (all tricks minus one) does not exist in tarot, according to the French Federation of Tarot. Only the grand slam is rewarded (400 points when it is announced, 200 points when it is not). The failure of an announced slam is always sanctioned by a loss of 200 points. All these bonuses are non-multipliable and are added or withdrawn after the calculation of the contract score.

Demenagement Constantineau

Tarot at 5 players
SOUTH dealer and declarer (garde-against-the-dog)

Dog: Exc, Kspade, 1heart

Distribution and biddings
West North East
T 16-6
Sp 9-4-1
He 7-6-5-4-3
Di 10-9-6
Cl J-7
T 15-12-7
Sp Q-C-3
He J-8
Di C-8-4
Cl C-6-5-2
T 17-14-3-2
Sp 10-8-5-2
He 9
Di J-7
Cl 10-4-3-1
South   South-East
T 21-20-13-9-8-4-1
Sp -
He K-Q-C
Di K-Q-2-1
Cl 8
G-Against (Trefle)
  T 19-18-11-10-5
Sp J-7-6
He 10-2
Di 5-3
Cl K-Q-9
Garde (!)

The play of the hand

The play of the hand
20 .10 14 15 16
.KCa 5Ca 7Ca 4Ca 6Ca
.QCa 3Ca JCa 8Ca 9Ca
.2Ca 19 2 CCa 6
21 .11 17 7 1Pi
.1Ca 18 3 12 9Pi
8 .5 9Co 2Tr 1Pi

...and SOUTH close for a score of +656 !

Although his hand is exceptional, SOUTH needs a partner with a hand configured perfectly to hope for a slam. Several high trumps are missing and it is also necessary to find a parking for the 2 diamonds losers.

Note that the slam is also possible on a trump play by the 2 declarers (4 rounds) followed of K-Q and small carreau ruffed by the partner. South cashes all its trumps and the remaining honors in coeur before giving the lead to partner (with the king of club) who finishes with K-Q of trèfle, the queen being used as a parking for the fourth carreau (such as are the cards however, the fourth carreau was not a loser since nobody holds 4 cards in the suit). It is in this manner that declarer should have played with an inevitable loser in hand. To draw all the trumps costs the Petit at the end but makes possible to discard the losing diamond on the club queen (instead of ruffing stupidly).

Concerning the choice of calling or not a partner, SOUTH can think that he'll have difficulty to bring the Petit at the end if he chooses to play alone, especially when the player who has bid the Garde has the opening lead (I agree the Garde is a little bit esoteric... but we saw worse !).

Updated: 07/02/2016

Demenagement Constantineau