Polish defense concerto
                            By Radek Kielbasinski


In the Rosenblum Cup Teams, Polish teams fought hard to repeat their country's success in the Mixed Pairs. Here are three deals where exceptional defense produced many IMPs for Poland.

N/S Vul. Dealer West.
                        NORTH
                        S A 5
                        H A 4
                        D A K Q 9 7 6 4 2

                        C Q

     
          WEST                           EAST
          S K 8 7 3 2                    S J 10 4
          H J                            H K 7 3 2
          D 5 3                          D 8
          C J 9 4 3 2                    C K 10 8 6 5

 

                        SOUTH
                        S Q 9 6
                        H Q 10 9 8 6 5
                        D J 10
                        C A 7

 

WEST         NORTH      EAST      SOUTH
      Gardynik              Olanski
      Pass        2C (1)     Pass       2D (2)
      Pass        3D         Pass       3H
      Pass        4NT (3)    Pass       5D
      Pass        5NT (4)    Pass       6D (5)
      All Pass

     (1) Semi-forcing.
     (2) Forcing to game.
     (3) Blackwood.
     (4) Kings?
      (5) None.

First, Gardynik resisted the temptation to lead his singleton HJ and found instead the only lead to defeat the contract -- a low club. On any other lead, declarer could pull trumps and play on hearts. With the fall of the jack on the first round of hearts -- and with the CA remaining in declarer's hand as an entry to the hearts -- South would have had an easy time.

After the club lead, South played the DJ, overtaking in dummy, and played the HA, followed by a low heart. Olanski followed in tempo with the H2 and H3. Gardynik ruffed the second round of hearts, but now had a decision to make. Partner might have the SQ, in which case it was necessary for Gardynik to play a spade immediately. But partner might also have the C10 without the SQ, in which case a club return was mandatory. How could Gardynik know? Remembering Olanski's plays in hearts -- the 2 followed by the 3 -- Gardynik concluded that partner was trying to indicate possession of the most important club card at that moment -- the 10. So Gardynik returned a club and the slam was defeated. Had Olanski possessed the SQ without the C10, his carding in hearts would have been different -- the 7 followed by the 2 or 3.

Was declarer unlucky or helpless in the face of the killing defense? Actually, declarer played poorly. If he had ruffed a club at trick two, Gardynik would have been endplayed when he ruffed the second round of hearts.

At the other table, Marek Szymanowski and Marcin Lesniewski bid to 6D, played by North (Szymanowski) made the slam despite the lead of the SJ for a 16-IMP gain for the EPROMEX team. Szymanowski covered with the queen and won the ace when West played the king. He then cashed the CA and ran the diamonds. East could not stand the pressure and was forced to come down to the HK 7 and the S10. Szymanowski then threw East in with the spade, forcing him to lead away from the HK at the end.
On this deal from their match against a French team, Lesniewski had to figure out what to lead when Szymanowski doubled a voluntarily bid slam.

 

Dealer East.
                             NORTH
                             S 10 8 7 4 3
                             H J
                             D 6 2

                             C K 9 8 5 2
          WEST                                  EAST
          S A Q 5 2                            S K
          H K 4 3                              H A 9 5 2
          D K 10 8 7 6                         D Q J 4 3 2
          C 6                                  C A Q 4
                             SOUTH
                             S J 9 6
                             H Q 10 8 7 6
                             D A
                             C J 10 7 3

 

    WEST      NORTH     EAST      SOUTH
            Szy'ski             Lesniewski         
                        1D        1H
    1S        Pass      2C        Pass     
    4D        Pass      4H (1)    Pass     
    4NT       Pass      5H (2)    Pass     
    6D        Dbl       All Pass
    (1) Cuebid.
    (2) Two aces out of four.

Lesniewski immediately thought of leading dummy's first-bid suit -- spades -- but he considered the sitaution more carefully. Why did partner double? He did not have the SA since the opponents would not bid slam off two aces and doubling with the SK would not be a bright idea because declarer might have a singleton. It also appeared to Lesniewski that declarer had the CA, so partner could not be doubling for the CK. The only solution could be that Szymanowski, knowing from the bidding that Lesniewski should have an ace, has a heart singleton and was counting on Lesniewski to have a red ace. So Lesniewski led a low heart and gave partner a ruff after winning the DA. The double was worth only 3 IMPs, however, since the French player at the other table (after a similar auction), led a heart without partner's double.

Of interest is the play in 6NT, a contract East or West should have considered after the double -- after all, North might have been void in hearts. After South leads a heart and wins the DA, the card he selected for his continuation would have been critical. The way to defeat 6NT at that point would be to play a club. If, for example, South continued with a heart, declarer will prevail. East can cash  his spade winners and four diamond winners, arriving at this position:

 

                        NORTH
                        S 10
                        H --
                        D --

                        C K 9 8

          WEST                     EAST
          S 5                      S --
          H 4                      H 9
          D K                      D --
          C 6                      C A Q 4

                        SOUTH
                        S --
                        H Q
                        D --
                        C J 10 7

 

When the DK is cashed, North must hold the S10, so he discards a club. East pitches the H9 and South, who must hold the HQ, also pitches a club. Declarer than takes the club finesse and tables the C4 for his 12th trick. A club return when South is in with the DA breaks up the double squeeze.
The final deal displays fine cooperation on defense by a pair known in Poland as the Two Krzysztofs -- Jassem  and Oppenheim. Jassem is captain of the team which won the Polish team trials for the NEC World Bridge Championships in Albuquerque. This deal comes from Jassem's match against a Pakistani team.

 

N/S Vul. Dealer South.

                             NORTH
                             S Q J 4
                             H A 7 5
                             D K 7 5 2

                             C A 7 2

               WEST                      EAST
               S K 10 9 5 3              S 6 2
               H Q J                     H 10 9 7 3
               D J 9 8 3                 D A Q 10 4
               C J 3                     C 6 5 4
                             SOUTH
                             S A 8 7
                             H K 8 4 2
                             D 6
                             C K Q 10 9 8

    WEST      NORTH     EAST        SOUTH
    Jassem              Oppenheim
                                    1C
    1S        2D        Pass        2NT
    Pass      3NT       All Pass

As you can see, a spade lead gives up the ninth trick immediately. West started well by leading the HQ. South won in hand, cashed the CK and played a club to dummy's ace. He then took the spade finesse, losing to Jassem's king. By this time, Jassem had an accurate picture of declarer's hand and he could count nine tricks unless the defense got busy, so he made the killing switch to the DJ. Declarer ducked and Oppenheim made the key play -- the D10, unblocking the suit so that Jassem could play the D9, retaining the lead on the second diamond trick so that he could defeat the contract with one more diamond through declarer's king. At the other table, 3NT was made. The excellent defense earned the Jassem team 12
IMPs.