PRECISION AWARD FOR BEST DEFENSE

 

Larry Cohen and David Berkowitz, USA

Author: Jan van Cleeff (Netherlands)

 

Bad luck being non-Dutch, from NRC-Handelsblad, 10th November '95.

 

The following deal is from the first Politiken Invitational World Pairs at Copenhagen. This tournament, with a format

similar to the Cap Volmac and Macallan Top 16, was won by Zia Mahmood and Peter Weichsel, a Pakistani-American partnership. This hand is interesting both from a declarer's and a defender's point of view.

 

Game all               S  -

Dealer West            H  A J 4

                       D  9 6

                       C  A Q J T 7 6 3 2

 

        S  K J 9 5 3                       S  T 7 6 4

        H  Q 7                             H  K T 9 3 2

        D  A K 8 7 3                       D  T 4 2

        C  9                               C  8

 

                       S  A Q 8 2

                       H  8 6 5

                       D  Q J 5

                       C  K 5 4

 

Both Weichsel (against the Italian European Champions Lanzarotti-Buratti) and the Dane, Dennis Koch-Palmund (against Berkowitz-Cohen from the USA) jumped straight to 5C with the North hand after the 1S opening bid by West. Both East players led a spade, but from there their paths diverged.

 

At trick one,Weichsel played low from dummy and ruffed the spade in his hand. He drew trumps with the CQ. At trick three he played the D9 and when East did not cover he let this card run to the king - east did the best he could by returning the HQ-eichsel won the ace, crossed to dummy by leading the C7 to the king, pitched a diamond on the SA and ran the DQ,  throwing a heart when West did not cover: an elegant route to 11 tricks.

 

At the table Dennis Koch-Palmund decided to play the ace when East, David Berkowitz, led a spade, discarding a diamond from his hand. Next, the Dane put some pressure on the Americans by playing a low diamond, away from dummy's QJ5. After some considerable thought Larry Cohen judged well by ducking.

Berkowitz won with the D10 and persisted in spades. Declarer ruffed high, crossed to dummy's CK with a middle trump, ruffed a diamond high, re-entered dummy with a small club to the C5 and ruffed the last diamond high. At this point declarer  cashed the HA on which Cohen unblocked the queen - then a small heart followed, Berkowitz did very well to win the trick with the H9. He kept the trick and was able to cash the HK as well: one down.

 

The defensive problem here is of course the location of the HJ. If West had that card then Berkowitz should have popped

up with a 'crocodile' HK. He reasoned correctly however, that from H QJ-doubleton, Cohen certainly would have thrown

the HJ. The Jack would strongly indicate the possession of the queen as well, since otherwise declarer would probably

have taken a finesse with H AQx.

 

Post Mortem (not published in Handelsblad)

After the spade lead declarer can always make his contract in a legal, though double dummy,way. He takes the SA, discards a diamond and plays a heart. There are two possibilities:

 

1-West follows with the queen. North should duck this card.   Here after West cannot avoid being end- played. He will be stripped in hearts and/or clubs, whereafter declarer will give him a trick in dia- monds. Now West must concede the 11th trick in diamonds or spades.

 

2-West follows small. This time North should go up with the ace, pull a trump and continue with a small heart from his hand, achieving the same endplay as described under 1.

 

So it appears that only a heart lead by East kills 5C.