Report from a Victim


A hand that was well played by Henky Lasut


                            S  K Q 7    

                            H  K 10 4   

                            D  A Q 7    

                            C  A Q 6 5  

           S  J 5                          S  10 6 4 3

           H  A Q J 3 2                     H  8 7

           D  J 6                          D  K 8 5 3 2

           C  K 8 3 2                      C  10 7

                            S  A 9 8 2  

                            H  9 6 5    

                            D  10 9 4   

                            C  J 9 4    


         WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

       Wilkinson      Lasut         Retek       Manoppo

         1H           Dbl           1S           Pass

         2C           2NT           Pass         3NT

         All Pass


Retek led a heart to Wilkinson's jack and Lasut's king. Lasut, who has been a regular in world championship competition since the Seventies, cashed KQ spades, then finessed the 9 after Wilkinson followed the second spade with the jack. On the third and fourth round of spades, Wilkinson discarded a club and a diamond. Lasut led the D10 to the jack and ace and then got out of his hand with a heart. Wilkinson was able to take four heart tricks but then was forced to lead away from his CK and present Lasut with his game.


Challenging Hand


This was a challenging competitive deal for North-South.


                            S  Q

Dlr: East                   H  A K Q 5 2

Vul: None                   D  Q 8 5

                            C  J 7 4 3

           S  J 10 5 3                     S  A 9 6 2

           H  10 9 6 3                     H  8

           D  10 7                         D  A 4 3 2

           C  A 5 2                        C  K 10 9 6

                            S  K 8 7 4

                            H  J 7 4

                            D  K J 9 6

                            C  Q 8


If the auction started 1C-1H by East-West, North was not really worth a 2H overcall. When East rebid 1S, West could close North out by raising to 2S. However, if West passes, North-South might get their act together and play 3H.


Imagine defending 2S as North. What should you do after winning the HA at the first trick? The answer is that you need to shift to the SQ at once! If you play a second heart, declarer gets a crossruff going, and by ruffing the fourth heart with the SA he actually emerges with nine tricks.

But if North shifts to the SQ at the second trick, South gets the lead in diamonds (or by ruffing the third round of clubs) and gets to play two more rounds of trumps to hold declarer to seven tricks.



The English touch


Mark Horton, featured in the next column, got bad breaks in both of the key suits on this hand, but he survived.


                            S  Q 8 6 3

Dlr: South                  H  10 9 8 7 6 3

Vul: N-S                    D  --

                            C  6 5 4

           S  K 7 5 4                      S  A 10 9 2

           H  --                           H  J 5 4 2

           D  A K 9 8 6 4 3                D  Q 7

           C  A 3                          C  Q J 8

                            S  J

                            H  A K Q

                            D  J 10 5 2

                            C  K 10 9 7 2


         WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

        Horton         -            Alder         -

          -            -             -           1C

         1D           Pass          1NT          Pass

         2C           Pass          2D           Pass

         2S           Pass          3S           Pass

         4D           Pass          4S           Pass

         6D           All Pass


When Phillip Alder first bid notrump, then supported diamonds, then raised spades, Horton was just about sure that none of Alder's strength was concentrated in hearts -- hence the slam bid.


Alder ruffed the opening heart lead and felt quite good about his chances. However, when he led a trump, he was not happy to see North show out.


Alder took the club finesse through the opening bidder, took two top trumps and the CA, then cashed the SK, hoping for a singleton honor with South. Down came the jack, so Horton finessed the S9, got back to his hand with a heart ruff and took another spade finesse to pick up the suit and score up his slam. The only trick for the defense was the trump jack.