Living Columns & Blogs

Bridge in the Tri-Cities: Maximum Pressure

Dealer:

South

Vul:

None

: 82

: 62

: KJT83

: AK43

: 74

: KQT93

: 75

: KJ3

: AQ742

: 965

: T986

: 52

: AJ65

: AQT984

: void

: QJ7

Bidding:

S

W

N

E

1H

P

1NT

P

3H

P

4H

P

P

P

Opening Lead: Ten of clubs.

At the November Unit Championship, the four top seeds were sitting at table 1 and playing board numbers one and two. There would be 24 more boards to play; but both pairs knew that, if they were going to win, they would have to do well this round. All four were looking very relaxed, but you could feel the tension in the air. Larry Lang and Larry Trickey were N/S and Dudley Brown and John Feo were E/W.

The Bidding: South, rotated, so that the declarer shows as South, Larry Lang, opened with 1H and became declarer in 4H. 1NT was forcing for one round.

The Play: With only two entrees to dummy, declarer has to use them wisely. Lang chose to lead spades and try to trump the spade losers in the dummy. I think this is the match-point duplicate better play; but this time it does not work. 4H can be made by winning the opening lead on the board, leading trump and finessing the queen, cashing the ace of hearts and the queen of clubs, and exiting with a third heart. East is on lead and end-played. If he leads a diamond, declarer pitches a spade and the king will set up. If he leads a spade honor, declarer can either win the ace, play a third club to dummy, and either finesse for the spade honor later or duck it and take the finesse later. The double finesse in trumps also works but is inferior.

The Result: 4H was played at all seven tables. The defense was not as good at some of the other tables, and some declarers elected to play trumps instead of spades with their two entrees. The contract was fulfilled at four tables and was defeated at two other tables. Lang and Trickey lost four matchpoints on this pivotal board and tied the second board.

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