Second hand high By Alfred Sheinwold

"It wasn't what my mother taught me," Dave Berkowitz admitted. "She was taught to play second hand low, but she failed to pass the lesson on to me." Berkowitz was referring to board below.

                          S 76
 Dlr: N                   H 98742
 Vul: None                D A92
                          C T43
                 S KQ9             S A42
                 H KJ6             H AQ3
                 D QJ73            D T64
                 C 872             C KQ95
                          S JT853
                          H T5
                          D K85
                          C AJ6

                WEST    NORTH    EAST    SOUTH
                        Pass     1NT      Pass
                3NT     All Pass

Declarer took the opening lead of the S5 in dummy and led the D3. Berkowitz stepped up with the ace (second hand high) to lead another spade. This was a demonstration of an important maxim: good players know all the rules, but experts know when to break 'em. Berkowitz led a second spade. Declarer led another diamond to drive out the king, and South (Lisa Berkowitz) drove out declarer's last spade stopped while she still had the CA. Declarer had only eight tricks without clubs, and when he tried to get one, Lisa won her ace and cashed her good spades to put the contract down one.
If North carelessly plays a low diamond at trick two, East's Ten drives out South's king. South leads a second spade to dummy's queen, and declarer leads the DQ to drive out the ace. But now North has no spade to lead, so declarer has time to develop a club trick and win three spades, three hearts, two diamonds and a club.
Declarer should lead a club rather than a diamond at trick two. If North has the CA and puts it up (second hand high), declarer may get three club tricks to make his contract. If South has the ace, one of her entries is knocked out early, and although she can set up the spades, she won't be able to regain the lead to cash them.


A FOUR-TWOITISH FIT By Alfred Sheinwold

Bridge textbooks tell you to look for a trump suit of eight or more cards. If you can't find one, play the hand at Notrump, they advise. Dave Berkowitz and Larry Cohen found an exception to the rule:

                           S Q8
Dlr: North                 H J7
Vul: N-S                   D Q9874
                           C AT73
                 S 743               S 9652
                 H KT83              H AQ962
                 D AJ                D 2
                 C J864              C 952
                           S AKJT
                           H 54
                           D KT653
                           C KQ
           West       North     East       South
         Treadwell    Cohen    Gookin    Berkowitz
                      Pass      Pass        1NT (1)
           Pass       2NT       Pass         3S (2)
           Pass       4S (3)    All Pass

(1) 14-16 HCP (Precision).
(2) Looking for a fit. North probably has 9 or 10 points and the hand belongs in game but North doesn't have four spades                          (no Stayman) and the two short suits make Notrump look dangerous.
(3) He wouldn't have bid 3S on a four-card suit, would he? If South has only four spades, they must be headed by the A-K-J. Besides, Sonny Moyse became famous rooting for 4-3 trump fits. Maybe bridge players of the 21st century will celebrate the 4-2 fit.

Dave Treadwell, playing with Robert Gookin, muttered something about "When in doubt" as he led a trump. Berkowitz won his jack and led the DK. He had to set up the diamonds while he had a trump in dummy to stop the hearts. We can all see that the defenders can take two hearts, a diamond and a diamond ruff but nobody pointed this out to Treadwell and Gookin.
So they took their two hearts and got out with a second trump. Now Berkowitz drew trumps and claimed his game.
To start the ball rolling, let's call the 4-2 fit the Larry Cohen trump fit. Your reporter certainly doesn't want his name on it.