Going for the gusto by Barry Rigal

 

                            S  J 6 5 4 3

Dlr: East                   H  10 6

Vul: Both                   D  7 6 4

                            C  10 8 4

            S  A Q 9 2                     S  K 10

            H  A 9 5 4                     H  J 8 7 3

            D  Q 8                         D  A 5

            C  A 5 2                       C  K 9 7 6 3

                            S  8 7

                            H  K Q 2

                            D  K J 10 9 3 2

                            C  Q J

 

After I opened the East hand 1C (all right already, sue me!), I declared 4H. South led a low diamond, having overcalled in the suit, and when I put up the queen it held the trick, with North suggesting that he held only three diamonds. Now the journalist's play was to lead a heart to the 8, then run the HJ, playing for the intrafinesse to pin the 10. But reconsider the auction. South has six diamonds, and it is a fair inference that he does NOT have short spades or clubs. He might have led the suit if he did. So it was highly more likely that South had a singleton HQ or HK, in which case the right play in  trumps was to start with the ace.

Eventually I made the supreme journalistic sacrifice and led out the ace, sacrificing my column material and creating the maximum aggravation for myself when I got to see all 52 cards.

 

 

Bidding Coup by Barry Rigal

 

Valerie Westheimer, playing with Hjordis Eythorsdottir, was full of praise for a coup in the auction by Lynn Deas. Lynn picked up

 

            S  4,   H  Q J 10 9 7 2,  D  10 7,  C  A K 9 6

 

with both sides vulnerable, Lynn heard 1S on her left and 2NT on her right -- a game-forcing raise in spades. Without hesitation Lynn bid 3C! She wanted a club lead and she had complete safety in hearts if necessary. In fact her opponents bid on to the spade game, and the defense swiftly cashed out for down one as a result of the club bid -- partner led a club and got her third-round ruff. This was the hand:

 

                            S  J 10

Dlr: West                   H  A 5 4 3

Vul: Both                   D  9 8 5 3 2

                            C  7 3

            S  A 9 7 3 2                   S  K Q 8 6 5

            H  8 6                         H  K

            D  A J                         D  K Q 6 4

            C  Q J 10 5                    C  8 4 2

                            S  4

                            H  Q J 10 9 7 2

                            D  10 7

                            C  A K 9 6

 

Had Lynn stayed out of the auction altogether, wouldn't North have led a diamond or a trump? Who can say?

 

When I Die ..... by Barry Rigal

 

As Mary I of England said, "When I die, the word 'Calais' will be found on my heart." If Eddie Kantar is to have an inscription on his grave, it will be C K-10. (Kantar lost a world championship to the famed Italian Blue Team when the Italians reached a grand slam in clubs with Kantar, on lead, holding the C K-10. Unfortunately, the dummy came down with the C A-Q.) Look at the next board:

 

                            S  --

Dlr: North                  H  A 5 4

Vul: N-S                    D  Q J 10 7 3 2

                            C  9 4 3 2

         S  A K J 10 7 5 2                   S  Q 9

         H  --                               H  J 10 9 7 2

         D  K 8 5 4                          D  6

         C  A 7                              C  Q J 8 6 5

                            S  8 6 4 3

                            H  K Q 8 6 3

                            D  A 9

                            C  K 10

 

Both tables in Kantar's match reached 4S, and the North players weren't able to attack trumps. The DQ was led to the ace for a trump shift. Declarer ruffed a diamond and led the CQ. Kantar's teammates covered and North was subsequently squeezed in the minors for 480.

By contrast, Michael Rosenberg, playing against Kantar, DUCKED the CQ. Now the entries for the squeeze are destroyed, so that was yet another chapter to be added to the Kantar misfortunes involving the C K-10.