Timeo Danaos et stories ferentes by Toine van Hoof,
E/W Vul. Dealer East.
S 4 S A987
H KJ72 H QT54
D AQJT93 D 5
C Q5 C AKT7
I hate to spoil a good story, but I must react to Costas Kapayannidis' article in the Wednesday bulletin. He referred to this hand from the Greece-Netherlands match:
Against 6H by East Spyros Liarakos found the brilliant lead of the D7. From the bidding, he knew that dummy would show
up with long and good diamonds. On any other lead declarer is bound to make his contract, when he finds the trumps to be four-one, his only hope, is to play South for DK bare or doubleton.
Declarer, Anton Maas, gave that D7 a long thought. He knew Liarakos was the kind of man to under lead the DK, but didn't want to go down in slam in trick one. He put up DA. He played a heart to the Queen, ducked by South and another heart to dummy's Jack, ducked again by South. The third round of hearts that followed was won by Liarakos, who naturally returned his last trump to give the contract no chance.
So far so good with Costas' story. Unfortunately he forgot to mention an important detail. When the second round of
hearts was led, North showed out. He discarded an apparently useless diamond, violating the late Jean Besse's winning Bols Tip "Beware of the neutrinos."
Declarer should have found the winning line now by ruffing a small diamond in hand. North would certainly not have discarded from an original D Kxxx, since then, he would have given away the contract (declarer runs DQ and ruffs the next diamond with H10). And the losing option of playing North for D Kxx and South for a small tripleton was out now too.
Alas, by now Anton Maas was convinced that South had started with a singleton diamond and North had made a logical discard from D Kxxxx. He surrendered by playing a third heart at trick four. Liarakos could have defeated the contract by more tricks by returning a spade, but of course he was happy to take it down one for sure.
All the same, I think Liarakos deserves the prize for the best lead of the Open Championship.