Champions All!

By Mark Horton


Matthew Granovetter, writing in 'Bridge Today', described this as the hand of the Marlboro venice Cup in Beijing. I like to call it: Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend.


                  Game All, Dealer South.


                           S  9742

                           H  ---

                           D  AQ76

                           C  A8754

          S  QJ63                        S  T85

          H  KT83                        H  AJ952

          D  K32                         D  T4

          C  J9                          C  QT6

                           S  AK

                           H  Q764

                           D  J985

                           C  K32


         West        North        East        South

         Porat      Nehmert     Zur-Albu    Rauscheid

          -           -            -          1NT

         Pass         2S           Pass        3C

         Pass         3H           Dbl        Pass

         Pass         3S           Pass       4D

         Pass         5D           All Pass


After South had opened with a weak notrump, North described a three-suited hand with short hearts and the reasonable

contract of 5D was reached.

West led the H8, a lead that seems to give declarer little chance. Indeed the French star Phillipe Soulet went two

down in the same contract on a heart lead.

Andrea Rauscheid ruffed the opening lead and crossed to hand with a spade. She ruffed another heart and again returned to hand with a spade. She ruffed a third heart and ruffed a spade. A club to the ace and a club back to the king were followed by the last heart, ruffed with the ace. When she played dummy's last spade, this was the position:


                           S  9

                           H  ---

                           D  ---

                           C  875


                S  Q                 S  ---

                H  ---               H  A

                D  K32               D  T4

                C  ---               C  Q


                           S  ---

                           H  ---

                           D  J98

                           C  3


When East ruffed with the D10, Andrea was able to overruff with the jack and was certain to score another trump trick.

However, she had also foreseen that if East discards on the fourth spade, she could ruff with the D8 and exit with her

remaining club.


Most of the time this would result in West being endplayed. On the other hand, Barry Rigal, writing in 'The Bridge World' considered this to be the deal of the event:


                East/West Game. Dealer East.


                           S  KT864

                           H  K942

                           D  A5

                           C  Q9

            S  732                        S  AQ9

            H  J5                         H  QT3

            D  T96                        D  J432

            C  T6543                      C  AJ8

                           S  J5

                           H  A876

                           D  KQ87

                           C  K72


         West        North        East        South

       Rauscheid    Willard      Nehmert     Cronier

          -           -           1NT         Dbl

         2C          3C           Pass        3D

         Pass        3S           Pass        3NT

         All Pass


Rauscheid led a club and declarer had to duck East's jack. Pony Nehmert cashed the CA, but then found the essential

switch to a heart, continuing the suit when she won the first spade.


Just in case you think it's obvious, I should mention that when faced with the identical problem, the great Paul Chemla didn't find the winning defense.