How could it matter?

 

Jim and Scott Lewis were playing against Fred Gitelman and Brad Moss when Scott was confronted with a play which appeared to be irrelevant. But it turned out to be critical.

 

S K 3

Dlr: West H 9 3

Vul: NS D Q 10 4

C K J 10 9 8 4

 

S 10 9 8 6 S Q J 2

H A 6 4 2 H K Q 7 5

D 6 3 D A 9 8 5 2

C A 3 2 C Q

 

S A 7 5 4

H J 10 8

D K J 7

C 7 6 5

 

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

Jim Gitelman Scott Moss

- - - Pass

Pass 3C Dbl Pass

4C Pass 4H All Pass

 

A club lead leaves declarer struggling, but quite reasonably Moss suspected that his opponents had a 44 spade fit, so he led the SA. Of course declarer expected this to be from the aceking and length, but he sacrificed his SJ, more for general routine principles than for any devious reasons. But look what happened.

 

Moss led a spade to partner's king and Gitelman returned a diamond, letting Scott win in hand. Now came the CQ to the ace and a club ruff, the H KQ and a spade to the 10 for another club ruff. Scott then cut loose with a third diamond. It did not matter which defender won this -- Scott could win the return in dummy, draw the last trump and claim the rest for plus 620.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pseudo guess

 

Jim Griffin and Keith Garber produced one of my favorite variations on a pseudo squeeze to give declarer a vicious problem:

 

Dlr: East S J 9 7 6

Vul: N--S H A 10 9 7 3

D K 2

C K Q

 

S K 5 4 3 S Q 2

H K Q 6 H J 5 4 2

D A 10 9 8 D 5 3

C 9 5 C A 8 7 6 4

 

S A 10 8

H 8

D Q J 7 6 4

C J 10 3 2

 

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

Garber - Griffin -

- - Pass Pass

1NT (1) 2D (2) Pass 2S

All Pass

 

(1) 11--14 HCP.

(2) Majors.

 

2S on a trump lead looks tough, but the defense has only four top tricks so life isn't easy for them either. Declarer captured the SQ with the ace, and played a heart to the king and ace. He then ruffed a heart, and led a low diamond. Garber hopped up with the ace (declarer did not unblock the DK) to play the SK and a diamond to the king. Declarer ducked a heart to West who exited with a trump.

Declarer drew trumps to produce this ending:

 

S

H 10 9

D

C K Q

 

S S

H H J

D 10 9 D

C 9 5 C A 8 7

 

S

H

D Q

C J 10 3

 

It looks as if declarer must get two tricks. Indeed, if he had called for a heart from dummy at this point, he would have scored two tricks in the ending. But declarer called for the CK, and so fell victim to an odd squeeze.

Griffin carefully ducked, but won the CQ on the next round and cashed the HJ. Declarer was now forced to guess whether to keep the CJ or the DQ for his last card. Playing for clubs to have been 4--3, he kept the diamond. Down one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guess I should'a stayed in bed

 

Sometimes it is not worth getting out of bed, as Carolyn Steiner and Marinesa Letizia discovered. Down 38 IMPs at the half in their match, Steiner picked up:

 

S 7 5 3

H 9 4

D 8 6 5 2

C K Q 7 3

 

She passed in second seat at unfavorable vulnerability. She heard a Multi 2D on her left, pass from partner, 2S (heart fit) on her right, and 2NT on her left, showing hearts. Partner doubled to show an unbalanced good hand, and righty jumped to 4H, passed back to partner. Letizia doubled again to show an even better hand. This was the auction so far:

 

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

Pass Pass 2D Pass

2S Pass 2NT Dbl

4H Pass Pass Dbl

Pass ?

 

Steiner decided to try for a minor suit game with 4NT, and Letizia jumped to 6D, which made Steiner put down her dummy rather apologetically. Not to worry -- Marinesa had her covered with a 23 count and all the aces. This way the full story:

 

S 7 5 3

H 9 4

D 8 6 5 2

C K Q 7 3

 

S A K Q 2

H A

D A Q 10 4 2

C A 9 4

 

Alas, the diamonds were 3-1 with both honors offside. That was one down -- especially galling when her teammates had escaped for minus 300.