You Can Get Good Hand On Crumpled Napkins

                                                                                               By Barnet Shenkin

 

As I reached for my Heineken I spotted the usual crumpled napkin beside Rhoda Habert with the usual letters and x's all with little circles around them. "An interesting hand?" I asked, and she told me the story.

 

                         S  7652

                         H  K9542

                         D  8

                         C  T94

           S  T                        S  Q943

           H  AQ7                      H  JT86

           D  QJ97432                  D  T5

           C  KJ                       C  862

                         S  AKJ8

                         H  3

                         D  AK6

                         C  AQ753

 

          WEST       NORTH       EAST       SOUTH

           -          -           -         1C

          1D         Dbl         Pass       2D

          3D         3H          Pass       4S

          All Pass

 

West led the DQ and Rhoda won the ace to play a heart. West won and continued hearts. She won the king, discarding a diamond, and passed the C10 to West's jack. West played a third heart which Rhoda ruffed. She now laid down the SA,

noting the fall of the 10. It looked as if lefty was 1-3-7-2, so she laid down the CA, dropping the king. A high diamond pitching a club was followed by two more clubs, pitching dummy's last heart -- and East had no counter. She had to play a heart allowing dummy to ruff, and then she would take the trump finesse or play a spade which would make declarer's hand high. The key play was discarding her diamond on the HK. Very well played!

 

I HEARD ZIA'S voice booming behind me. I turned round to see him holding his usual large brandy. "Barnet, did you see that five diamond contract?" he asked. I had been passing his table earlier, and immediately after his customary psychic first-in-hand opener which resulted in minus 650 he produced the following defense:

 

                         S  83

                         H  QJT75

                         D  KT5

                         C  J52

           S  KJ752                    S  AQT94

           H  K8                       H  962

           D  42                       D  63

           C  KQ43                     C  A87

                         S  6

                         H  A43

                         D  AQJ987

                         C  T96

 

          WEST       NORTH       EAST       SOUTH

           -          -           -         1D

          1S         Pass        4S         5D

          Pass       Pass        Dbl        All Pass

 

Zia led the S5 to Michael Rosenberg's ace. Michael switched to a club and Zia won to play a second spade. Declarer ruffed, crossed to a trump and passed the HQ which Zia ducked. When declarer repeated the finesse, Zia won, put Michael in with a club and scored a ruff for down three -- 800 -- which is Zia's third favorite defensive number after 1400 and 1100. 1700s are too infrequent, he says.

 

I SHOWED MY FRIEND Eddie Kantar a very interesting hand from my first Spingold match.

 

                         S  843

                         H  9

                         D  75

                         C  AKJT964

           S  AQJT52                   S  K97

           H  T4                       H  KQ7652

           D  A63                      D  84

           C  87                       C  52

                         S  6

                         H  AJ83

                         D  KQJT92

                         C  Q3

 

          WEST       NORTH       EAST       SOUTH

           -          -          2H         3D

          3H         4C          Pass       5D

          Dbl        All Pass

 

West led the H10 to the king and ace. I took the line for a first-round match by leading the DK. Luckily for me West took his ace and I was home. If West ducks I would have to ruff a heart and would likely go down two. If I ruff a heart and lead a diamond, West would have to underlead to beat the hand. East of course would be able to give suit preference in both hearts and trumps, so his partner should get it right.

 

Eddie, of course, gave the right answer in two seconds. "It looks as if it's necessary to lead a spade to break communications," he said. "Absolutely now. If the defense doesn't switch immediately to clubs and continue clubs

after they win the DA, they can't beat the hand. Declarer would simply ruff one heart and play diamonds."

 

Our teammates led the HK against the same contract. Declarer won, ruffed a heart and led a spade. Now John

Mohan rose with the king. In the same position he played a trump which was not good enough. He quickly realized he had

to shift to clubs to beat the hand. When West does not give a high spade under the king, he knows he can't overruff the

7-spot.