The Wildavsky Quartet by Adam Wildavsky


Often several sessions go by without a hand worth reporting. During this session Dan Morse and I found four.


On the first board North discovered that it's not only honors that need to be covered.


                         Dlr: South, Vul: E-W


                            S  Q 10 3 2

                            H  9 8 4

                            D  7 6 3

                            C  10 7 2

            S  J 9 4                        S  A 6 5

            H  A 7 6 3 2                    H  K Q 10

            D  9 5 2                        D  Q 10 4

            C  K 8                          C  J 9 5 4

                            S  K 8 7

                            H  J 5

                            D  A K J 8

                            C  A Q 6 3


           WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

         Wildavsky       -            Morse         -

            -            -             -           1D

           Pass         Pass          1NT          Dbl

           2H           All Pass


South did well to double, as I'd have been able to transfer into hearts otherwise, and the hand could easily play better from Dan's side. As things were North led a diamond and South cashed three rounds before switching to a trump. I won dummy's 10 and led the C4. South did well to duck, playing the 4. Now I ran the C8 to South, who again did well by winning with the ace, the card he was known to hold. South exited with another trump and I guessed the club position by leading the CJ, throwing a spade to make two. +110 was worth 56 on a 77 top. Look what happens, though, if North covers the C8 with the 10! Now I'm held to seven tricks for a poor score.


On the second board of the round Dan and I found ourselves defending 2NT.


                         Dlr: West, Vul: Both


                            S  K

                            H  A 7 6 5

                            D  A 10 9 7 3 2

                            C  J 3

            S  Q 9 7                         S  J 8 3 2

            H  K J 8 2                       H  Q 10 9 4

            D  J 8 6 5                       D  4

            C  6 4                           C  A K 9 7

                            S  A 10 6 5 4

                            H  3

                            D  K Q

                            C  Q 10 8 5 2


           WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

         Wildavsky       -            Morse         -

           Pass         1D            Dbl          Rdbl

           1H           Dbl           Pass         1S

           Pass         2D            Pass         2NT

           All Pass


Concerned that dummy would have decent heart spots, I led the HJ. With eight tricks on view declarer won the ace and cashed DK and DQ. Playing standard carding Dan pitched the C9. Dan's showing out could not have been too much of a surprise, but declarer could not afford to overtake. Declarer now played a club to the jack and king. Dan returned a heart and I saved my king to make sure I won the fourth round, while declarer pitched three spades. Now I played a club to Dan's ace and he switched to a spade.

This caught declarer in a rare defensive winkle (!), and he had to concede down one, worth 51 matchpoints to us. For more on the winkle see Terence Reese's Master Play.


On the third board we played against Doug Heron and Barry Rigal. You may remember that Doug has been writing about winning tricks with small spots, both in Lille and here in Orlando. Here Doug was in a sense hoist on his own petard.


                         Dlr: South, Vul: Both


                            S  10 9 8

                            H  8 7 4

                            D  A K 8 7 4

                            C  10 9

            S  A 2                          S  K 7 6 5 3

            H  Q 10 5 3                     H  A 6

            D  9 5                          D  Q J 10 6 3

            C  A K 8 7 5                    C  2

                            S  Q J 4

                            H  K J 9 2

                            D  2

                            C  Q J 6 4 3


Dan and I arrived in 3NT via an auction that may not have been duplicated:


           WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

         Wildavsky       -            Morse         -

            -            -             -           Pass

           1C           Pass          1S           Pass

           1NT          Pass          2D!          Pass

           2H           Pass          2NT          Pass

           3C           Pass          3D           Pass

           3NT          All Pass


Dan and I had agreed that 2D was New Minor Forcing, and there our agreements ended, so everything afterwards was presumably natural. I expected 2NT to be a 5-3-3-2 11-count or so -- it shows how much I know. Fortunately no one asked, though I expect I'd have answered, truthfully and correctly, that we had no agreement. I bid 3C in case partner held three clubs and wanted to play there -- I was concerned about the now marked diamond lead. Once Dan bid 3D I bid 3NT since it seemed at least as likely to make as anything else, and carried a higher reward to boot!

Playing "third from even, low from odd" against notrump, a method I've used myself with some success, Doug led the D4. I won the trick with the 5 (no, that's not a record for me) and eventually came to nine tricks.

Notice that fourth best leads wouldn't have helped here. The D7 lead makes it easier to bring in the suit than the D4 did! On this hand, though, I was going to make 3NT on any diamond lead, since spades were 3-3. +600 was worth 63 matchpoints.


On the last interesting board Dan showed one reason he's been so successful for so long. He goes out of his way to make things easy for his partner.


                         Dlr: East, Vul: Both


                            S  Q J 10 8

                            H  10 4 3

                            D  10 8 5

                            C  J 9 7

            S  6                            S  9 7 5 2

            H  K 6 5                        H  A J 9 2

            D  A Q 9 2                      D  J 4 3

            C  Q 10 5 3 2                   C  8 4

                            S  A K 4 3

                            H  Q 8 7

                            D  K 7 6

                            C  A K 6


           WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

         Wildavsky       -            Morse         -

            -            -            Pass         1C

           Pass         1S            Pass         4S

           All Pass


Dan led the D3 and after winning the DQ I guessed to continue with ace and a diamond. Declarer cashed the SA and SQ while I pitched a club. Then he tried ace, king and a club. I thought I was going to with the queen, but Dan, realizing that his trumps were not going to do him any good, ruffed my trick and exited with his last trump. Now down three was easy. +300 was worth 71 matchpoints. Thanks, Dan!