Of such things dreams are made



This hand, from yesterday afternoon's Swiss, is another example of the dictum that many an opportunity awaits an enterprising declarer who runs a long suit:


Dlr: North                  S  A 10 5 4

Vul: N­S                     H  8 2

                            D  A K 7 2

                            C  7 6 4


              S  K 9 8 3                S  Q J 6

              H  J 10 3                 H  6 5

              D  9                      D  Q J 6 3

              C  K J 9 5 3              C  A 10 8 2


                            S  7 2

                            H  A K Q 9 7 4

                            D  10 8 5 4

                            C  Q


          WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

           -           1NT (1)       Pass         4H

          All Pass


         (1) 12 to 14 points.


West led the D9 a trifle too quickly, allowing South to read it as a singleton. After winning the DA, declarer drew trumps with the ace, king and queen and threw a club from dummy. Prospects were dim but the diamond pips suggested there might be a way home provided the East hand could be stripped of his black cards. The only deficiency in this plan was that there seemed no safe way of doing this. If he played a a spade or a club, the defenders would mount an attack in spades and destroy any potential endplay.


Eventually declarer saw that two more rounds of trumps would trouble East if he had started with either at least four spades or at least two spade honors. After declarer threw another club on H9, these cards remained:


                            S  A 10 5 4

                            H  ­--

                            D  K 7 2

                            C  7


              S  K 9 8 3                S  Q J 6

              H  ­--                     H  ­--

              D  ­--                     D  Q J 6

              C  K J 9 3                C  A 10


                            S  7 2

                            H  7 4

                            D  10 8 5

                            C  Q


When South played the H7, West could not afford to part with a spade (if he did declarer could set up a spade trick), so he threw a club while dummy parted with a spade. East had no winning discard but the S6 seemed safest. However, declarer now exited with a club to the ace, giving East two unpleasant choices.


The first was to cash the SQ before playing the C10 which South would ruff leaving:


                            S  ­--

                            H  ­--

                            D  K 7 2

                            C  ­--


                S   K 9                S  ­--

                H   ­--                 H  ­--

                D   ­--                 D  Q J 6

                C   K                  C  ­--

                            S  ­--

                            H  ­--

                            D  10 8 5

                            C  ­--


and then the D5 to the 7 and queen would leave East on play to lead away from the DJ. If East played the C10 before cashing the SQ, declarer would ruff and lead the S7 in:


                            S  10 5

                            H  --­

                            D  K 7

                            C  ­--

                S  K 9                S  Q

                H  --­                 H  ­--

                D  --­                 D  Q J 6

                C  K                  C  ­--

                            S  7

                            H  ­--

                            D  10 8 5

                            C  --­


This would winkle a spade trick if West rose with the king or force East to win and broach diamonds. Either way, declarer would have his tenth trick.


You may be curious as to why I have not named the declarer. Alas, all was not as above in real life. East, rather than I, held the D8.



Swanson Observes



This deal is from the Spingold Knockouts:


Dlr: West                   S  10 7 2

Vul: N--S                   H  8 4 3 2

                            D  8 6 2

                            C  J 10 3


             S  K                       S  A Q J 8 5 4

             H  Q 9                     H  5

             D  A K 10 5 4              D  J 9 3

             C  K 9 8 4 3               C  Q 7 5


                            S  9 6 3

                            H  A K J 10 7 6

                            D  Q 7

                            C  A 6


          WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

       Rosenberg    Granovetter      Zia          Coren

           -            -            2S           3H

          Pass         Pass          Double       All Pass


Michael Rosenberg cashed the DK and then shifted to the SK. Zia overtook with the ace and cashed the SJ, indicating a club honor. This was reassuring to Rosenberg but did little else for the defense for they could only take three spades and three minor­suit tricks. If they organized a trump promotion, the club loser would disappear.


This was plus 500 to the Schwartz team for an 8­IMP pickup as the contract at the other table was 3S making three.


Former world champion John Swanson, who also watched this deal, felt the auction was routine but observed that Granovetter could have saved 200 points by raising 3H to 4H. That would have made it impossible for Zia to double!



It never rains but it pours




More often than not, a favorable lie of the cards results in overtricks rather a crucial game­going trick. This was certainly Ron Smith's experience early in our match against the O'Rourke team when he racked up a succession of overtricks in partscores. "This never happens when I'm in game and need it at rubber bridge."


Soon afterward it was my turn to put Ron's dictum to the test. I was declarer with the South hand.



                            S  J 10 8 6

                            H  8 7 2

                            D  Q J

                            C  K Q 9 7



                            S  3

                            H  A K Q 10 9

                            D  10 9 6 4 2

                            C  A 5


         WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

          -            -             -           1H

         Pass         2H            2S           4H

         All Pass


Roger Bates led the S2. Ron won the king and made the excellent return of a low spade, threatening my trumps. I ruffed with the 9 and led a low diamond. Perhaps you might care to visualize what you need for the contract if Roger rises with a diamond honor and plays the SQ.


Ron knew exactly what the answer to that question was -- the hand he held


               S A K 7 5 4,  H J 4,  D K 7 3,  C 10 6 3


I could take the second tap, knock out the DK and ruff the fourth round of spades with the queen. After cashing the ace and king of trumps, felling Ron's jack, I could play the C5 to the queen and draw the last trump with dummy's 8. Finally, I would re­enter hand with the CA to enjoy the good 10­9 of diamonds for my contract.


I'm sure Ron was thinking "and only when the opponents play a thin game."