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October 2007

Editor: Matthew Granovetter

The Magazine for People Who Love to Play Bridge

Matchpoint Adventures
An over-my-shoulder look at real-life matchpoint problems — page 9

2 The Red Pencil 17 The “Harakiri Endplay”

Time to cross off by Pietro Campanile
the 4-3-3-3 3NT response! Wherein your opponent assists
in an endplay on himself!
4 Brilliancy or Blunder?
by Anders Wirgren 19 The 2007 Spingold
Admiration but also criticism by Mark Horton
of Terence Reese’s works Or, how the experts did it ...
this summer in Nashville

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Bridge Today • October 2007 page 2

The Red Pencil

by Matthew Granovetter

The 4-3-3-3 3NT Response

For some reason, it has become popular Opener Responder

to play that a response of 3NT to an open- ♠KQJxx ♠Axx
ing bid of 1♥ or 1♠ shows a 4-3-3-3 shape ♥KQx ♥Axx
hand with 12-15 points, including three- ♦Jx ♦Qxx
card trump support. The purpose is to offer ♣QJx ♣Kxxx
opener a choice between 3NT and four of
the major. Since the convention became 1♠ 3NT
popular, I’ve rarely seen it at the table. And ?
when I have seen it, opener usually starts
scratching his head. The fact that it rarely Now you make 3NT after a diamond
comes up is one reason not to use the con- lead. But you still make 4♠ on any lead
vention — you can easily find a better use and you certainly prefer 420 to 400 at
for the bid, such as Baby Blackwood, or matchpoints.
splinter in the other major (so that they can-
not easily double and find a sacrifice). The Should a convention turn bidding into
fact that it puts opener in a difficult guess- a guessing game? Of course not. Then why
ing position is much worse. are so many people playing it?

Opener Responder Opener Responder

♠KQJxx ♠Axx ♠Kx ♠AQx
♥KQx ♥Axx ♥ A 10 x x x ♥xxx
♦xx ♦Qxx ♦AKxx ♦QJx
♣QJx ♣Kxxx ♣Qx ♣Axxx

1♠ 3NT 1♥ 3NT
? ?

How is opener supposed to know that he Here you make 5♥ on a 3-2 heart break.
belongs in 4♠ and not 3NT? Let’s add the If you get a club lead vs. 3NT, you make 10
♦J to opener’s hand to stop the diamond tricks if the queen holds.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 3

Opener Responder How awkward for opener to have to try

♠Jxx ♠ K Q 10 x to describe his hand starting at the four
♥AKQxx ♥xxx level. Responder likes hearts, but should he
♦AJxx ♦ K 10 x cuebid 5♣? What if the hands look like:
♣x ♣ K Q 10
Opener Responder
1♥ 3 NT ♠AKxxx ♠xxx
4♥ ♥Kxxxx ♥ Q 10 x x
♦Kx ♦ Q 10 x
This time it looks right to remove to four ♣x ♣AKQ
of the major. Oops. There are 11 easy tricks
in notrump. And against 4♥, if someone 1♠ 3 NT
happens to have a singleton spade.... 4♥ ?

How might the auction go to 3NT on Did opener do anything terrible by bid-
these cards? ding 4♥, which plays much better than 4♠?
But if responder presses on with 5♣, they
Opener Responder may be too high. Yes, it’s that silly 3NT
♠Jxx ♠ K Q 10 x response that caused this.
♥AKQxx ♥xxx
♦AJxx ♦ K 10 x Opener Responder
♣x ♣ K Q 10 ♠AKxxx ♠Qxx
♥x ♥ Q 10 x x
1♥ 1♠ ♦KQxxx ♦AJx
2♠ 2 NT (forcing) ♣Ax ♣ K 10 x
3♦ 3 NT
pass 1♠ 3 NT
4♦ ?
Yes, responder has concealed that pre-
cious three-card heart support from opener. This time slam is on. Should opener just
But only in the interest of reaching the best bid it by himself?
Opener Responder
There are times you bid 3NT over a ma- ♠AKxxxx ♠xxx
jor and opener is really stymied because he ♥Qx ♥KJx
has extra values or shape.... ♦AKJ ♦ Q 10 x
♣xx ♣AQJx
Opener Responder
♠AKxxx ♠xxx 1♠ 3 NT
♥AKxx ♥ Q 10 x x ?
♦Ax ♦ Q 10 x
♣xx ♣AKQ This time opener has no clue what to
bid. Is 4♦ suddenly a cuebid and not a suit?
1♠ 3 NT Does anyone who plays this 3NT bid know?
4♥ ? Have you ever discussed it? Have fun!
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 4

Brilliancy or Blunder

by Anders Wirgren, Limhamn, Sweden

I am used to answering the question Just like Reese, I wouldn’t recommend

“Who is the best bridge author of all time?” Forrester’s 1♥ overcall to anybody, but once
with “Terence Reese,” but in doing so I’m it was made I heartily agree with Andrew
usually quick to add: “but he was often Robson’s direct and unscientific approach.
careless.” His best books are still among the Yes, it could lead to a missed grand slam
very best ones ever written, but his ease opposite a fitting minimum, say 3-5-2-3
of writing sometimes meant he didn’t pay distribution with the ♠K and the ♥A, but
enough attention to detail. the big risk with going slowly is that the
defenders will be in a better position to find
Browsing one of his last books, Brillian- the killing lead against a small slam (prob-
cies and Blunders in the European Bridge ably a diamond), if there is one.
Championship (from the European Cham-
pionship for teams in Killarney, Ireland, West leads the ♠3, and you win the trick
1991), I came across this deal, featuring with the 8 in your hand. How do you pro-
Tony Forrester in the match between Great ceed from here?
Britain, the eventual winner, and Spain.
Let’s hear what Reese says:
East dealer North (Robson) “It’s not just a matter of finding East with
E-W vul ♠ A Q J 10 7 the ace of hearts or A-x. The spades will
♥K8765 only supply two discards and in all prob-
♦AJ4 ability East will hold the king of diamonds.
♣— (It looks as though West has passed with
long clubs and a poor hand.)
South (Forrester)
♠K84 Forrester’s line was very clever, as you
♥ J 10 9 4 3 will see in a moment.

West North East South

— — 1♣ 1♥
pass 6♥ (all pass)
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 5

East dealer North But not until recently, I learned that the
E-W vul ♠ A Q J 10 7 very first deal should have been played dif-
♥K8765 ferently. Just watch!
♣— South dealer North
West East None vul ♠AQ
♠953 ♠62 Rubber Bridge ♥AJ984
♥Q2 ♥A ♦A83
♦ 10 8 3 ♦K92 ♣J73
♣ Q 10 7 4 2 ♣AK98653
South South
♠K84 ♠ 10 8 2
♥ J 10 9 4 3 ♥ K 10 7 5 2
♦Q765 ♦K6
♣J ♣AK9

West North East South South West North East

— — 1♣ 1♥ 1 NT pass 2♣ pass
pass 6♥ (all pass) 2♥ pass 6♥ (all pass)

Opening lead: ♠3 West leads the ♠9, dummy’s queen los-

ing to the king, and a spade comes back,
The play went: spade to the 8, ruff club, West following with the 7. Since South has
jack and another spade! If East ruffs he is the ♠8, the lead looks to be from short-
on play. If he discards, then South runs a ness (from 9-7-x-x-x, West might have led a
heart to the ace, and once again East is on lower spade), so if anybody is void in hearts,
play. If in either case East exits with a dia- it is probably East.
mond you win in hand with the queen; if
with a club, you win in dummy, discarding Therefore, Reese leads a heart to the
a diamond. Pretty, isn’t it?” king, both following, and draws the last
trump with the ace, East discarding a spade.
Looks like the deal should be put in the The best chance to avoid a club loser looks
brilliancy box, doesn’t it? But the truth is to be a double finesse, hoping East has
that in this story there are no fewer than Q-10-x, but playing for the drop is also
three blunders (and I don’t count West’s a possibility. Before committing himself,
failure to lead a red card as a blunder…). Reese leads a diamond to hand and ruffs
See if you can spot them! I’ll come back to the ♠10. At that trick, West discards a club.
the hand later. Then ♦A, diamond ruff, West following
with the ten and East with the 9 the last
The Author’s Favorite Book time.
The bridge book I have read most times
is Play Bridge With Reese. I guess I know These cards remain:
all the deals by heart by now. It was the
first “over-the-shoulder” book, and I still
consider it the best book in its genre.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 6

North All he has to do after drawing trumps is

♠— ruff dummy’s third diamond in hand, then
♥J9 run trumps to get a show-up squeeze against
♦— East. Could it be simpler?
Deal No. 26 in the same book is another
South example, where the right answer is just star-
♠— ing you in the face. But Reese doesn’t see it.
♥ 10 7
♦— North dealer North
♣AK9 N-S vul ♠ A 10 5
Imps ♥J7
With two entries to dummy, South can ♦J432
still play East for the ♣Q-10-x, but the fall ♣ A 10 5 3
of the diamonds make it a near certainty
that East has one more diamond left, be- South
cause if he hasn’t West would surely have ♠Q
led a high diamond from Q-J-10-x-x rather ♥ K Q 10 6 4 2
than a spade from 9-7 doubleton. ♦AQ96
Therefore, Reese plays clubs from the top
and is rewarded with 12 tricks when the West North East South
full layout is: — pass pass 1♥
1♠ 1 NT 2♠ 4♥
♠AQ 4♠ 5♥ (all pass)
♦A83 Reese says that he is not worth more
♣J73 than 3♥ at his second turn, but at these
♠97 ♠KJ6543 vulnerabilities it pays to overbid slightly,
♥Q3 W E ♥6 expecting the opponents to save. That’s a
♦ Q 10 5 2 S ♦J974 good point. But when West obliges, North
♣ 10 8 5 4 2 ♣Q6 goes on to a scary 5♥ instead of taking the
♠ 10 8 2 sure money.
♥ K 10 7 5 2
♦K6 West leads the ♦8, and since East-West
♣AK9 figure to have some distribution, Reese ex-
pects the lead to be a singleton. If so, he has
There are lots of lessons to be drawn to cover with the jack to be able to pick up
from this deal, so it’s an excellent start of East’s K-10-7-5.
the book. But in being so didactic Reese
misses the best line, which happens to be an East in turn covers the jack with the king,
easy one. If he assumes the ♠J is with East and Reese wins the trick with the ace. He
(likely because of the opening lead), there plays a trump to the jack, both following
is a line that works every time East has the low, and another one to the king, West win-
♣Q. ning with the ace.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 7

Contract: 5♥ North ♠ A 10 5
♠ A 10 5 ♥J7
♥— ♦J432
♦432 ♣ A 10 5 3
♣ A 10 5 3 ♠KJ842 ♠9763
♥A95 N ♥83
South ♦8 S ♦ K 10 7 5
♠Q ♣Q862 ♣K94
♥ Q 10 6 4 ♠Q
♦Q96 ♥ K Q 10 6 4 2
♣J7 ♦AQ96
Then he hopes West will be “nice and
break clubs” or lead a low spade away from In the post mortem, Reese claims that
the king. But no, West plays, as Reese put leading a singleton in the hope of a ruff
it, “the very card I didn’t want to see – the when your strength is limited more often
spade king.” As you will see shortly, that gives away a trick than gains one. This view
isn’t the correct defense. is up to debate, of course (my own view is
that Reese is wrong, and I expect the edi-
With the lead in dummy, and only one tors to agree with me), and on this deal the
more entry there, it looks like Reese has to singleton lead was indeed enough for a one-
take a diamond finesse now, but there is trick set.
one trump out, and West is likely to have it
if he has only one diamond. If we back-up the situation to when West
is on lead with the ♥A, the remaining cards
Instead, Reese ruffs a spade, draws the are:
last trump, West following, and advances ♠ A 10 5
the ♣J. When West covers with the queen, ♥—
Reese has a sure line if his assumption ♦432
about the diamond suit is correct — pro- ♣ A 10 5 3
vided he can guess who has the ♣K. If he ♠KJ842 ♠9763
thinks West has it, he should duck and ♥9 W
later finesse the ♣10. But if he thinks East ♦— S ♦ 10 7 5
has the king, as he does, he should win the ♣Q862 ♣K94
ace and take a deep diamond finesse. Then, ♠Q
running the trumps forces East to come ♥ Q 10 6 4
down to two diamonds and the ♣K, after ♦Q96
which a club exit forces East to lead dia- ♣J7
monds up to Reese’s tenace.
If West “breaks clubs for declarer,” as
Nicely played! This was the full hand: Reese was hoping for, the contract can’t be
made. If he goes up ace, he has not enough
entries for the diamond finesses without
suffering a ruff; and if he ducks, East can
give West a diamond ruff.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 8

Difficult to spot? Not at all. But once Because if East ruffs that one and leads
again Reese was so concerned with making back a club, giving a ruff and a sluff, not
his point (Don’t lead a singleton when your even a British superstar can take 12 tricks:
strength is limited!) that he forgot to check
his analysis. Human, yes, but not what we ♠AQ
should expect from the world’s best bridge ♥K876
author. ♦AJ4
Now let’s return to the Forrester deal to ♠— ♠—
see if you found the culprits. If not, here ♥Q2 N ♥—
they come. ♦ 10 8 3 S ♦K92
♣ Q 10 7 4 ♣AK9865
The first blunder goes to Tony Forrester ♠—
himself for giving East the chance to defeat ♥ J 10 9 4 3
a contract that could/should have been ♦Q765
made; the second one goes to the nameless ♣—
East, who missed the chance to be a hero;
the third one goes to Reese for not checking If Forrester ruffs in hand, he will lose a
Forrester’s analysis. I also guess a fourth one diamond trick eventually; and if he ruffs
goes to me, for not realizing all this many in dummy, he can’t pick up the queen
years ago. of hearts. That, Mr. Reese, is what I call
Now over to the truth about the deal.
But Forrester was on the right track,
♠ A Q J 10 7 when he hoped for ace singleton in hearts
♥K8765 with East. The error he made was to play
♦AJ4 three rounds of spades. Two would have
♣— been enough, and the second one should be
♠953 ♠62 won with the king. Next lead a heart. This
♥Q2 W E ♥A gives South the additional chance that West
♦ 10 8 3 S ♦K92 has three spades, the ♥Q singleton and the
♣ Q 10 7 4 2 ♣AK98653 ♦K (not likely, but who knows?).
♥ J 10 9 4 3 As the cards lay, East will win the ♥A
♦Q765 and be endplayed.

West North East South

— — 1♣ 1♥
pass 6♥ (all pass)

After the lead of the ♠3 won by the 8,

ruffing a club in dummy was correct, but
then Forrester erred by cashing the ♠J and
leading a third round of spades. Why?
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 9

Matchpoint Adventures

by Matthew Granovetter

In this article I’d like to show some per- good bridge. East, no doubt, held a single-
sonal adventures from the summer nation- ton or void in spades and therefore the
als in Nashville. The hands are all from the bad guys were cold for at least 11 tricks in
Life Master Pairs, where my partner was diamonds. So minus 100 would be a great
Rick Benstock. The first hand of the tour- score. I ducked the first club and won the
nament had me thinking it was not going to next one. The ♥Q lost to West’s king and
be my week…(positions rotated here and a third club was led to East’s queen. Next
there to make South declarer)… came the ♦10. I covered with the queen,
losing to West’s ace. Then a low diamond
West dealer North came back to East, who won the king and
None vul ♠ A K Q J 10 thought for a minute. Out came a low
♥865 trump, and West discarded a high spade.
♣752 At this point, I had East marked for
1-4-4-4 shape or 0-4-5-4 shape. If the for-
South (MG) mer I had to extract the spade now, before
♠763 playing the last trump from dummy. Other-
♥ Q J 10 9 7 wise, East would win the ♥A and pin me in
♦Q3 dummy with a spade. If the latter, I could
♣A96 just continue trumps for down two. West
was unlikely to hold five diamonds and
West North East South not compete to 4♦, but East was unlikely
pass pass 1♦ 1♥ to hold a void in spades and not compete
double* 2♥ pass pass to 4♦ or double 3♥. I elected to go for the
3♦ 3♥ (all pass) extraction play, because if I was wrong, they
would be cold for 12 tricks in diamonds,
*showing 4+ spades and if I led trumps again and got pinned
in dummy with a spade, they would be
My opponents were using the newfangled cold for only 150. In other words, I based
negative double to show any number of my play on what they could make if I was
spades, while a 1♠ response over my 1♥ wrong. But East ruffed the first round of
would show fewer than four spades with spades and said: “Thanks, finally I got my
nothing good to bid. ruff. I wish you were my partner!”

West led the ♣J and dummy was a fasci- Oops. I slid under the table a little. Well,
nating sight: 150 honors, but in spades! Oh, down three, minus 150, turned out to be a
well, this was not the old rubber bridge days good score too, as expected. That’s because
anyway. It looked like down two would be the field was going plus 170 the other way:
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 10

♠ A K Q J 10 the 8 and finesse a second time (but losing

♥865 to that K-Q doubleton) or play the ace the
♦42 first time (losing to singleton 10). Finally,
♣752 if all four are onside, I need to ride the 8.
♠98542 ♠— Are you running to the Bridge Encyclope-
♥K W E ♥A432 dia suit-combination section or are you still
♦AJ75 S ♦ K 10 9 8 6 with me?
♣ J 10 8 ♣KQ43
♠763 I decided to forget about the 4-0 split and
♥ Q J 10 9 7 do my best with 3-1 or 2-2. So I went up
♦Q3 with the ace and caught the singleton king
♣A96 this time. I leave it to you to decide if I was
right in theory.
At other tables, the auction often started
with a 2♠ opening by North, double by Here’s another combination that came
East, and 3♠ raise! This contract was also up:
down three. Would you double 3♠ with Dummy
the West cards? Would you leave it in with ♠K8432
the East cards?
West North East South ♠AJ5
pass 2♠ double 3♠
double This was a side suit in 4♥. Again, no op-
position bidding. My opponent was declarer
What does this auction mean? I think and at one point in the hand led the 5 to
West’s double is responsive, and East must the king. As West, I played the 10 second
bid 4♦. But West may raise and score 420. hand and my partner the 6. On the spade
off dummy, my partner played the 7. At
On the next board I faced this trump suit this point the best theoretical play is the
combination, with no bidding by the opps jack, which my opponent played. One clue
and little to worry about elsewhere: was there: I had not led a singleton spade,
so spades were likely to be 3-2. But were the
♠AJ93 spades:

♠87654 ♠ Q 10 ♠976

What’s the best play for the most tricks? Or were they:

I was thinking along these lines: If spades ♠ 10 9 ♠Q76

are 2-2 it doesn’t matter, unless RHO has
K-Q doubleton and I pass the 8 and fi- If you adhere to the theory of restricted
nesse a second time to the jack. If West has choice, you could reason that I am twice as
three spades and plays the deuce on the likely to hold Q-10 then 10-9 doubleton,
first round, I can play East for singleton since with the latter I would play the 9 half
10, queen or king. If the 10, I must put in the time. In addition, my partner would
the jack. If the queen or king, I can ride also have choices with his 9-7-6. He could
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 11

have played the 6 and 9 or 7 and 9, but falsecard. A more dramatic example is:
chose the 6 and 7.
Dummy A Q 10 2
♠K8432 West East
J965 7
Declarer Declarer
♠AJ5 K843

A more practical point, however, is that Now on the lead of the ace, West must
when a spade is led toward dummy, West drop the 9 to give you a chance to go
doesn’t falsecard with the 10 so much (with- wrong. Otherwise, your only chance will be
out the 9), because it could be a losing play to lead low to the king on the second round,
if his partner has A-J-x. While if the king planning to finesse West for the jack if the
had been led from dummy, it would be easy suit breaks 4-1. But if West drops the 9 on
to falsecard the 10. On this day, I had the the first round, it might be a singleton and
Q-10 doubleton and was just following suit. declarer may decide to cash the queen next,
The lesson here is that if you’re playing playing East for four cards in the suit.
this suit, don’t start the king from dummy.
Instead lead toward the king. This will help Leading the 3 first, however, inhibits this
prevent West from falsecarding. There is 9 play, doesn’t it?
probably a whole list of holdings that would
make an interesting study of which direc-
tion you lead a suit, where it seemingly Rick and I were playing the old 4-card
doesn’t matter. Here’s one example: major opening system of Ira Rubin, which
led to some interesting contracts, such as:
A Q 10 2 North
Declarer ♥Q76532
K943 ♦6
You know nothing of the distribution
and you want to first cash a top honor in South
dummy and then decide who might have ♠A32
a singleton, if the suit is breaking 4-1. Nor- ♥ A J 10 4
mally, if you see a 7 or 8 played, you would ♦ K 10 3
play that player for the singleton. So with ♣ K 10 9
J-8-6-5, for example, your opponent should
falsecard the 8. South West North East
1♥ pass 4♥ (all pass)
If you cash the ace first, it will be easier
for your opponent to play the 8 from J-8-7- West led a club. The ♣A and ♥K were
6, but if you start the suit by leading the 3 with East, and the ♠K was with West. Ten
toward dummy’s queen, it will inhibit the tricks, an easy game.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 12

Playing the “system” I ended up declarer At this point I had two trumps in my
on this one: hand, but three clubs in dummy. This was
the position:
East dealer North
Both vul ♠K9732 ♠973
♥QJ2 ♥Q
♦— ♦—
♣ K 10 7 6 3 ♣ 10 7 6
West East ♠Q ♠—
♠ Q 10 8 ♠J ♥— N ♥ 10 9 8
♥84 ♥ 10 9 8 6 3 ♦542 S ♦AK98
♦542 ♦AK9873 ♣J52 ♣—
♣AQJ52 ♣4 ♠65
South ♥A
♠A654 ♦ Q J 10 6
♥AK5 ♣—
♦ Q J 10 6
♣98 A thought occurred to me. West might
not want to use his high trump to ruff with,
West North East South because he may not realize that it’s safe to
— — pass 1♠ lead a diamond. So I led the ♥Q to the
pass 3 NT* pass 4♠ ace and West was on my wavelength. He
(all pass) discarded a diamond. Now I was set up for
a small trump coup. I ruffed a diamond,
*support in spades with an unspecified shortness ruffed a club, ruffed a diamond, ruffed a
club and led a diamond at trick 12, scoring
West led the ♥8. I wanted to set up my ♠9 in dummy en passant. Scoring 650
clubs, but if I drew two rounds of trumps was worth a near top score.
and they broke 3-1, a defender might gain
the lead and draw a third round of trumps.
So I won the lead in hand and immediately I would like readers’ opinion on board
led the ♣8. West won the ace. This was 9. We were up against a two well-known
a bad hand for upside-down carding, as players, but in a first-time partnership. Try
the ♣4 could be from 9-4. But East-West bidding this hand:
were using normal carding. Nevertheless,
West thought his partner did not wish to ♠ Q 10 6 5
release the 9. West continued hearts. I won ♥32
in dummy and cashed two trumps, end- ♦Q652
ing in my hand, followed by a club toward ♣K95
dummy. Again, this was better than being
in dummy and cashing the ♣K. West felt At favorable, your partner opens 1♥. You
obliged to split his honors. The ♣K won respond 1♠ and partner rebids 2♦. There’s
but East showed out. been no bidding by the opps. What is your
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 13

West: ♠ Q 10 6 5 ♥32 ♦Q652 ♣K95 This was the full deal:

West North East South North dealer North

— — 1♥ pass N-S vul ♠Q7
1♠ pass 2♦ pass ♥532
? ♦ A 10 9 3
♣ 10 9 5 4
I think I would pass 2♦. Even though it’s West East
nicer to play in the major at matchpoints, a ♠A85 ♠43
preference to 2♥ might induce a third bid ♥7 ♥ Q 10 9 4
by partner. And I’m not really interested ♦KQJ54 ♦8762
in hearing from partner again with my 7- ♣AJ87 ♣KQ3
count. Maybe you have a different view…. South
♠ K J 10 9 6 2
My opponent bid 2♥ with these cards ♥AKJ86
and his partner jumped to 4♥! Now for the ♦—
issue: That 2♦ bid came after a full 10-sec- ♣62
ond huddle. The East hand was:
♠ — ♥ A K Q 10 9 5 ♦ A K 7 4 ♣ 8 7 2 West North East South
— pass pass 1♠
Making 4♥, but reaching the contract 2♦ pass 3♦ 3♥
the hard way. Did our opponents do any- pass 4♥ (all pass)
thing wrong? Should I have called the direc-
tor for a ruling? I didn’t but felt afterwards Opening lead: ♦K
very bad about it.
Win the lead in dummy, pitching a club.
The next hand was a declarer problem: Then take a first-round hook of the ♥Q.
I think this is a fair line of play. If hearts
North dealer North are 3-2, it’s not likely to cost but if they
N-S vul ♠Q7 are 4-1, you may be in dummy for the last
♥532 time, since you can’t be sure where the ♠A
♦ A 10 9 3 is. Another idea is to lead a trump to the
♣ 10 9 5 4 ace and a spade to the queen, then take the
♦K heart finesse. If this loses, however, they
South may score a ruff as well. As the cards lay,
♠ K J 10 9 6 2 either plan succeeds, as long as you finesse
♥AKJ86 in trumps and don’t cash the ace and king.
♦— Unfortunately, for them, a good number of
♣62 declarers did cash the ace and king, think-
ing this was the safest method.
West North East South
— pass pass 1♠
2♦ pass 3♦ 3♥ Here’s a hand where we used old-fash-
pass 4♥ (all pass) ioned Drury “successfully.” We reached the
right contract but missed a lucky one....
How would you play it on the ♦K lead?
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 14

West East I did. It’s my favorite convention, and

♠KQ987 ♠A2 it worked like a charm when partner put
♥AKJ ♥Q down: ♠ K 9 6 5 3 ♥ K 4 3 2 ♦ 10 ♣ A Q 9
♦A84 ♦ 10 9 5 3
♣A3 ♣ K 10 8 6 5 2 First the ♠A was led and then a club
shift to the king. Making 10 tricks when
— pass diamonds behaved. Yes, the ♥A was onside
1♠ 2♣ too.
2 NT 3♣
4♦ 4 NT The next hand was fun to bid to a Moy-
6♣ pass sian fit:

I opened 1♠ in third seat and Rick bid West East

2♣, which we were playing as old-fashioned ♠AQJ9 ♠ K 10 2
Drury, I think this was excellent judg- ♥ A K 10 9 3 ♥Q2
ment as well, because a 2♣/3♣ sequence ♦ J 10 ♦AKQ832
is so much more descriptive than a forcing ♣J4 ♣98
notrump followed by 2♠. In old-fashioned
Drury, responder does not necessarily have — 1♦
spade support (it depends on his next bid). 1♥ 2♦
My 2NT was forcing and his 3♣ not forc- 2♠ 3♠
ing. Having learned about the six-card suit, 4♠ pass
I jumped to 4♦, asking for keycards, and he
showed two without the queen of trump. Here my partner had not rebid 1♠, so
So I put him in 6♣. After a diamond lead, having denied four spades, he judged well
he could simply play two top trump (they to raise my 2♠ to 3♠ with three good ones.
split) and run his hearts and spades, pitch- With no club stopper, we landed in the 4-3
ing three diamonds. fit, which worked fine. They cashed their
two club tricks and when trumps were 4-2, I
But how do you play 6NT after a dia- claimed the rest.
mond lead?

Yes, 6NT is ice cold. The spades were What would you do on this balancing
3-3, so you can duck the diamond lead and situation? You hold the South hand, vul vs.
run five spades and three hearts: North not: ♠ 9 ♥ J 9 6 5 2 ♦ K Q 6 5 4 ♣ A 8
held four diamonds and three clubs, and is
squeezed. So much for being in the “right” West North East South
contract. at matchpoints. — — pass pass
1♣ pass pass ?

What do you open in second seat vul vs. It’s true, the opponents could hold a
not with: big spade fit, but I can’t imagine passing at
♠J4 ♥J ♦AKQ7654 ♣J32 matchpoints when I have a decent 5-5 and
we could be on for a game our way. Does
Would you risk the gambling 3NT if it partner have to bid over 1♣ with, for ex-
showed no outside ace or king?
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 15

ample, ♠ A x x x ♥ A Q x x ♦ x x ♣ x x x? I bid 3♠. Confidently. Unfortunately,

North confidently doubled. I thought I had
The winning decision? Pass! The 1♣ bid- my bid at the time. After all, a heart will
der was cold for 4♠. This was the full hand: be led and partner will pitch a club on the
second round of hearts — oh, I had it all
East dealer North planned out! But partner showed up with
N-S vul ♠ J 10 5 3 one too many clubs:
♦A872 East dealer North
♣63 E-W vul ♠96
West East ♥ 10 7 5 3
♠AK82 ♠Q764 ♦8532
♥AK4 ♥ 10 8 ♣AKQ
♦3 ♦ J 10 9 West (Matthew) East (Rick)
♣KQJ97 ♣ 10 5 4 2 ♠ Q 10 5 2 ♠KJ843
South ♥AK64 ♥8
♠9 ♦Q ♦ K 10 4
♥J9652 ♣7652 ♣9843
♦KQ654 South
♣A8 ♠A7
West North East South ♦AJ976
— — pass pass ♣ J 10
1♣ pass pass pass !
West North East South
I hate to report the following incident, — — pass 1♦
but I will. At my wife’s table, where she pass 1♥ pass 2♥
was West, it went 1♣, pass, pass, and South pass pass 2♠ 3♥
started thinking. North in the meantime 3♠ double (all pass)
folded his hand and stared at his partner as
if to say, “How dare you think of bidding!” Opening lead: ♥Q
South finally got the message and passed.
South was a very experienced player and It was a fine matchpoint double by North
North had recently won a national champi- and they got their top score with +200. Still,
onship. I can’t help thinking partner should have
held three clubs and four diamonds, and
Try this problem, vul vs. not. You hold as then we’d be plus 670 instead. I had to
West: ♠ Q 10 5 2 ♥ A K 6 4 ♦ Q ♣ 7 6 5 2 apologize, however, for the bid. “I’m sorry,”
I said. Then I grumbled, “I’m sorry you had
West North East South four clubs.”
— — pass 1♦
pass 1♥ pass 2♥
pass pass 2♠ 3♥ Finally, here’s a hand where I had to
? work and sweat for an average minus:
Do you pass, double or bid 3♠?
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 16

North dealer North hand with a spade. I won and played an-
None vul ♠QJ85 other spade. East ruffed and got out with
♥A953 his last trump.
♣Q There I was with two diamond losers still
West East staring me in the face. Oh well, I cashed the
♠963 ♠4 ♦A next, as a prelude to running the spades
♥J ♥ Q 10 6 2 and leading a second diamond, but East
♦Q964 ♦ K 10 spotted the endplay coming and dropped
♣ K 10 7 5 3 ♣J98642 the ♦K under the ace! Oy vey. I was about
South (moi) to cash some more spades when I stopped
♠ A K 10 7 2 myself. Good grief, what if he started with
♥K874 K-10 doubleton! He’s liable to discard the
♦J85 ♦10 next! So I led another diamond and
♣A ducked it, then wiped my brow as he re-
turned a club for the ruff-sluff and my con-
West North East South tract. Making four was worth a bit under
— 1♦ pass 1♠ average. The field were mostly playing 4♠,
pass 2♠ pass 3♥ and some were making five after a heart
pass 4♥ (all pass) to the ace picked up the heart suit for one
loser and the eventual endplay on East in
Would you have bid 4♠ with my hand diamonds brought in another trick.
or 3♥? I decided to bid it out, in case 4♥
was a better spot. Wrong again… At some tables West led the ♥J against
4♠ and this turned out nicely when de-
West led a club to my ace. I cashed the clarers thought it might be from J-10-x-x.
♥K, smartly playing West for the length So they ran it to the king. Welcome to the
in trumps. Then the ♥8, show out, ugh. I “wrong again” club! They matched my
let East win the trick and he got out of his score of 620. Have a nice October.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 17

The “Harakiri Endplay”

by Pietro Campanile

Terence Reese used to claim that he This was the typical auction. Four hearts
never played in a 2NT contract if he could is very reasonable contract but unfortu-
help it. His theory was that whenever there nately the black suits layout means that
were seven tricks available, he could usu- there are four unavoidable top losers which
ally find an eighth through his superior condemn it to failure. However, a curi-
technique and once he had his eight tricks ous thing happened at my table: For some
in the bag he would just wait for a defen- inexplicable reason West, who needed to
sive mistake to bring him the ninth and find three pitches when I drew trumps and
the contract! This view may be extreme, led four rounds of diamonds, held on to all
especially for those of us who cannot claim his spades and bared the ♣A. I now had a
to have Reese’s declarer play skills, but it perfect count of the hand, thanks to West’s
is true that defenders sometimes make the 1♠ overcall and East’s pass over 2♠ (which
strangest mistakes. For instance playing last would not have happened if he held ♣A-K
month in a simultaneous pairs in Tel Aviv, I and some spades), and simply played a club
came across this board: to West’s ♣A, waiting for my tenth trick
from the spade return. A nice example of a
East dealer North self-strip and endplay, which I aptly named
N-S vul ♠J2 the “Harakiri Endplay,” because the victim
♥AJ8 has to actively collaborate in order to be
♦A942 well and truly “fixed.” Surely this does not
♣ 10 9 8 5 happen to champions and top class experts,
West East I hear you say. True, it does not usually
♠AQ953 ♠ 10 8 6 4 happen but it does happen sometimes as the
♥52 ♥964 following hand will demonstrate.
♦83 ♦ 10 7 6
♣A732 ♣KJ6 Let us move to the recently concluded
South USA Summer Nationals in Nashville, Ten-
♠K7 nessee. In one of the many events played
♥ K Q 10 7 3 in the ten days of the Nationals, a team
♦KQJ5 including my wife, Migry Zur Campanile,
♣Q4 and Valerie Westheimer, Michael Barel,
Yaniv Zack and the Herbst brothers (the
West North East South latter four from Israel) faced the strong Ma-
— — pass 1♥ haffey team (Bertheau-Nystrom; Fu-Zhao;
1♠ 2 ♠* pass 4♥ Lair-Mahaffey). One of the boards to swing
(all pass) the result in favor of my wife’s team was a
pretty curious one.
*At least a limit raise in hearts
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 18

North dealer North ♠—

Both vul ♠AK4 ♥AQ43
♥AQ43 ♦4
♦A43 ♣7
♣K87 ♠ J 10 ♠—
West East ♥97 N ♥ K J 10 5
♠ Q J 10 8 7 ♠932 ♦ J 10 S ♦Q9
♥97 ♥ K J 10 5 ♣— ♣—
♦ J 10 8 2 ♦Q965 ♠—
♣92 ♣J3 ♥862
South ♦—
♠65 ♣ Q 10 6
♦K7 Now he continued with a small diamond
♣ A Q 10 6 5 4 from dummy preparing to ruff it, close his
eyes and run the ♥8. However something
North South totally unexpected happened: Nystrom
Ophir H. Ilan H. (East) inserted his ♦Q!
2 NT 3 ♣ (puppet)
3 ♦ (one M) 3 ♥ (relay) A beautiful case of top class “Harakiri
3 NT (hearts) 4 ♣ (slam try) endplay!” Naturally Ilan pitched a heart
4 ♠ (4 keycards) 6♣ from hand and waited patiently for Nys-
pass trom to give him the twelfth trick, either
with a heart return into the A-Q in dummy
Opening lead: ♠Q or with a switch to a new suit to provide
him with a ruff and discard. Six clubs
The Israeli pair bid aggressively to the made! It is easy to see that the ♦Q play
slam, which as the cards lie seems doomed. makes no bridgistic sense and is probably
Declarer has no way to avoid two heart los- not that much better than baring the ♣A in
ers, since the lack of spots in the suit means our first hand. Apart from ignoring West’s
that any competent defender in West will count signal in diamonds, the simple fact is
rise with whatever card he has to avoid the that if declarer had indeed started with
obvious danger of East being end-played ♠ x x ♥ x x ♦ K x x ♣ A Q 10 x x x, there is no
when declarer tries to duck a heart to East. need to jump in with ♦Q, as the trick will
Ilan (South) could not see all the 52 cards be taken by West, who can safely open the
and calmly went through the motions to hearts. Naturally, declarer cannot possibly
give himself the best chances, hoping that have the ♦J as otherwise he would have
East had some improbable holding like finessed. Or can he? If he has started with
♥K-J-10-9 and could not avoid the endplay. K-J-x, it might very well be the best play on
Declarer took the spade in dummy, drew the hand. By playing the ace and king, you
trumps in two rounds, eliminated the spades drop the queen doubleton offside, and at
with ♠K and a spade ruff, played ♦K (West worst break even when East has the queen,
signaling an even number), and a diamond since he can win the third round but is
to the ace, reaching this position: endplayed. Therefore, Nystrom should curb
his Samurai instincts and smoothly (or not)
play low on the third diamond.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 19

The 2007 Spingold

by Mark Horton, England

Here are some highlights from the East led the ♠5 and declarer won in
Spingold Teams at the ACBL summer na- hand with the king. There was no time to
tionals in Nashville. play on clubs so declarer simply cashed the
top diamonds and must have been delight-
All Quiet on the Eastern Front ed with East’s contribution. He claimed 10
The first set of the Round of 16 match tricks and +430. Notice it would do declarer
between Cayne (the #2 seed: Charlie Weed no good to take a finesse in diamonds on
NPC, James Cayne and Michael Seamon, the second round, since if East held a single-
playing with Italians Alfredo Versace and ton honor, West would hold four of them.
Lorenzo Lauria, and Fulvio Fantoni and
Claudio Nunes) and Mahaffey (the #18 Closed Room
seed: Jim Mahaffey and Mark Lair, play- West North East South
ing with China’s Zhao Jie and Fu Zhong, Cayne Lair Seamon Mahaffey
and Sweden’s Fredrik Nystrom and Peter — 1♦ (all pass)
Bertheau) was a low scoring affair (27 to
14), but there were many points of inter- Declarer made the same ten tricks for
est. This deal shows how keeping quiet can +130, but that was 7 imps for Cayne.
sometimes be effective. At one table East
overcalled and at the other East passed:
On this deal, North-South in the Closed
North dealer North Room had an accident but survived.
None vul ♠K3
♥AK North dealer North
♦AK9876 All vul ♠92
♣J98 ♥ K 10 7
West East ♦KQ4
♠ Q J 10 4 ♠A9752 ♣AKQ73
♥QJ86 ♥97432 West East
♦432 ♦QJ ♠ Q 10 8 7 4 ♠K5
♣K7 ♣Q ♥A8 ♥9642
South ♦J75 ♦ 10 8 6 2
♠86 ♣J52 ♣ 10 9 6
♥ 10 5 South
♦ 10 5 ♠AJ63
♣ A 10 6 5 4 3 2 ♥QJ53
Open Room ♣84
West North East South
Bertheau Lauria Nystrom Versace In the Open Room, Lauria opened 1NT
— 1♦ 1♠ pass with the North cards and was soon in 3NT,
2♠ 2 NT pass 3 NT +690. In the Closed Room:
(all pass)
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 20

North dealer North There was only one double figure swing
All vul ♠92 in the second quarter of the match:
♥ K 10 7
♦KQ4 West dealer North
♣AKQ73 None vul ♠832
West East ♥ 10 2
♠ Q 10 8 7 4 ♠K5 ♦QJ76
♥A8 ♥9642 ♣ A 10 9 6
♦J75 ♦ 10 8 6 2 West East
♣J52 ♣ 10 9 6 ♠9765 ♠ J 10 4
South ♥97 ♥Q8654
♠AJ63 ♦ 10 9 5 4 3 ♦K8
♥QJ53 ♣Q5 ♣872
♦A93 South
♣84 ♠AKQ
West North East South ♦A2
Cayne Lair Seamon Mahaffey ♣KJ43
— 1♣ pass 1♥
pass 2 NT pass 3♦ Open Room
pass 3♥ pass 3 NT West North East South
pass 4♥ pass 4♠ Jie Fantoni Zhong Nunes
pass 5♣ pass 5♦ pass pass pass 1 ♣ (1)
pass 6♥ (all pass) pass 1 ♠ (2) pass 2 ♥ (3)
pass 2 ♠ (4) pass 3 NT
There are certainly pairs who play that a pass 4 NT pass 6♣
jump to 2NT in this situation does not deny (all pass)
four-card support for partner, but it’s not
clear if that was the position here. If 3♦ (1) 14+ with clubs or 15+ balanced
was a check-back for heart support or four (2) 0-11, no 4-card major
spades, it’s not clear why North corrected (3) Kokish relay, hearts or a big notrump range
3NT to 4♥. If 3♦ was a transfer to hearts, (4) Which is it?
North was on track but South had forgot-
ten. In any event, North-South propelled By the time South bid 3NT he was
themselves to slam. known to hold a huge balanced hand, so
North made a general try with 4NT.
West needed to lead a spade to defeat
this contract, but he tried the ♦5 and now South won the spade lead, cashed the top
declarer could win and attack trumps. West hearts and played a heart. West discarded a
took the first round and played a second spade and declarer ruffed and advanced the
diamond. Declarer won, drew trumps and ♦Q, covered by the king and ace. He ruffed
with fingers crossed set about the clubs. The another heart, cashed the ♣A and ran the
3-3 split meant he was +1430 – 12 imps to ten to West’s queen. He took the diamond
Mahaffey, who trailed 27-14 at the end of return in dummy, ruffed a diamond and
the set. claimed, +920.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 21

West dealer North South dealer North

None vul ♠832 E-W vul ♠J3
♥ 10 2 ♥J852
♦QJ76 ♦AQ98
♣ A 10 9 6 ♣ K Q 10
West East West East
♠9765 ♠ J 10 4 ♠ 10 8 6 5 ♠AKQ9742
♥97 ♥Q8654 ♥ 10 4 3 ♥AQ6
♦ 10 9 5 4 3 ♦K8 ♦K7 ♦65
♣Q5 ♣872 ♣A872 ♣3
South South
♠AKQ ♠—
♥AKJ3 ♥K97
♦A2 ♦ J 10 4 3 2
♣KJ43 ♣J9654

Closed Room Closed Room

West North East South South West North East
Cayne Lair Seamon Mahaffey Jie V/L Zhong L/V
pass pass pass 2 ♣* pass pass 1♦ double
pass 2 ♦* pass 2 ♥* 4♦ pass pass 4♠
pass 2 NT pass 3 NT 5♦ pass pass double
pass 4♥ (all pass) (all pass)

*See the text below. Versace and Lauria were East-West for
the Cayne team, but we’re not sure who’s
This time North-South had a major ac- in which seat. Against 5♦, East led a spade
cident in the bidding. South clearly thought and declarer played a dummy reversal, ruff-
they were playing Kokish (where 2♥ is ing spades, drawing trumps, and then at-
either hearts or a 25-26 point hand) so he tacking clubs, scoring six trump tricks, four
had shown a balanced hand, but North clubs and the ♥K, an amazing +550.
obviously thought his partner had a heart
suit. Open Room
South West North East
West led a diamond to the queen, king Nunes Bertheau Fantoni Nystrom
and ace and declarer played a low heart to pass pass 1 NT (12-14) double
dummy’s ten and East’s queen. He won the redouble* pass 2♣ 4♠
diamond return in dummy, cashed three (all pass)
rounds of hearts followed by three rounds
of spades and two top clubs. Then a third *It would have been better for Nunes if he had a
club cashed for 11 tricks, +450, but 10 imps way to show both minors in one bid. — editor
for Cayne.
South led the ♦J. North took the first
Mahaffey’s team made a strong start to two tricks and exited with a spade. De-
the third quarter even though at one table clarer drew trumps and led a club to the
declarer missed a beautiful opportunity: ace, North dropping the queen! He ruffed
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 22

a club, North playing the king! Now he At this point if declarer ruffs a club and
crossed to dummy with a spade.... then plays a spade to dummy, he squeezes
South. If South pitches a heart, declarer can
♠— play ♥A, heart. If South pitches the ♦10,
♥J852 declarer can exit with a club, endplaying
♦9 South.
♣ 10
♠ 10 ♠Q97 On the system card I saw North’s 1NT
♥ 10 4 3 W E ♥AQ6 was 12-14 and he had already shown up
♦— S ♦— with the ♠J, ♦A-Q and ♣K-Q, so he could
♣87 ♣— not have the ♥K. Perhaps then declarer
♠— should have found the winning line. As it
♥K97 was, he took a heart finesse and was one
♦ 10 down, -100. But he still won 10 imps!

North dealer North to the 9, hoping to find ♥J-x or J-x-x onside.

E-W vul ♠ 10 7 6 Declarer opted to go after spades, and when
♥KJ5 they broke he had nine tricks, +600.
♦ Q 10 5 4
♣642 Closed Room
West East West North East South
♠842 ♠KQJ3 L/V Zhong V/L Jie
♥ Q 10 7 4 3 ♥A9 — pass 2 NT pass
♦KJ7 ♦A632 3 ♦ (1) pass 3♥ pass
♣53 ♣KQJ 3 ♠ (2) pass 3 NT (all pass)
♠A95 (1) transfer to hearts
♥862 (2) transfer to 3NT type of hand
♣ A 10 9 8 7 The vagaries of system put South on lead
and he found the testing ♣10, won by de-
Open Room clarer’s jack. Declarer made a good start by
West North East South playing the ♠Q and South took the ace at
Bertheau Fantoni Nystrom Nunes once and played the ♣8 to declarer’s queen.
— pass 1 ♣ (strong) pass Declarer took three rounds of spades, South
1 ♦ (neg.) pass 1 ♥ (1) pass and dummy discarding a heart, North the
2♥ pass 2 ♠ (2) pass ♦4. Now declarer made the human play
2 NT pass 3 NT (all pass) of taking the diamond finesse, and when
North won he played back a club giving the
(1) 20+ or 5+ hearts 16-19 defenders five tricks, +100 and 12 imps.
(2) notice that East bid his spades rather 2NT
The computer simply exits with the ♣K
North led the ♦5 and declarer won with (or cashes the ♦A first), and if South cashes
the jack. One possible line is to play a heart his club winners, North gets squeezed.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 23

West dealer North Closed Room

E-W vul ♠AQ8 West North East South
♥ Q J 10 7 4 3 L/V Zhong V/L Jie
♦A73 2 ♦ (19-21) 2♥ double 3♥
♣6 pass pass 5♦ pass
West East pass double (all pass)
♠ K 10 6 2 ♠J53
♥AK6 ♥9 Once West was unable (or unwilling) to
♦KJ5 ♦Q98642 bid 3NT over 3♥ his side was in difficulty.
♣A52 ♣K43 A second double from East might have
South saved the day, but his actual choice of 5♦
♠974 was rudely dealt with.
♦ 10 Declarer won the heart lead, cashed a
♣ Q J 10 9 8 7 second heart, discarding a club, and ruffed
a heart. He then tried to eliminate the club
Open Room suit, but saw North ruff away his ace. The
West North East South ♦A and another diamond meant declarer
Bertheau Fantoni Nystrom Nunes was two down, -500 and a massive 15 imps
1 ♣ (strong) 1 ♥ pass 2♥ for Mahaffey.
pass pass 3♦ pass
3 NT (all pass) Mahaffey won the set 50-7, posting an
insurmountable lead and they advanced to
North led the ♥Q and declarer won and the last eight, where they lost a close match
knocked out the ♦A for nine tricks, +600. (142-138) to the Gromov team: Andrew
Gomov and Aleksander Dubinin, of Mos-
cow, playing with Cezary Balicki and Adam
Zmudzinski, of Poland.

This Year’s Cinderella Team

The four-handed Ao squad surprised
everyone by reaching the semifinals of the
Spingold. They were Hailong Ao, of Hern-
don, Virginia, partnered by Jian-Jian Wang,
of Clarksville, Maryland, playing with Jiang
Gu, of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, and
David Chechelashvili, of San Diego. In the
round-of-eight match against the Lynch
This team was seeded #67 in the Spingold but made team (Carolyn Lynch partnered by Den-
it to the semifinals: David Chechelashvili, Jiang Gu, nis Dawson, playing with Fred Gitelman
Jian-Jian Wang and Hailong Ao and Brad Moss, and Curtis Cheek and Joe
(photo courtesy of the ACBL) Grue), the Ao team showed they were not to
be taken lightly....
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 24

West dealer North Closed Room

N-S vul ♠86 West North East South
♥6 Ao Dawson Wang Lynch
♦ 10 8 6 2 1♦ pass 1♠ pass
♣ Q 10 7 6 5 4 1 NT pass 2 ♦ (1) pass
West East 2♥ pass 4 ♣ (2) pass
♠K5 ♠A9742 4♦ pass 4♥ pass
♥AQJ7 ♥ K 10 9 2 4 NT pass 6♥ (all pass)
♦A9543 ♦KQJ
♣32 ♣9 (1) game-forcing check-back
South (2) splinter in support of hearts
♠ Q J 10 3
♥8543 Very impressive bidding to reach the
♦7 slam, perhaps the key being East’s splinter
♣AKJ8 in clubs. Would North find the killing lead?

Open Room It was difficult to be sure and when

West North East South North led the ♣6 declarer was almost
Gitelman Gu Moss Chechelash home. South won with the king and
1 NT pass 2♣ double switched to the ♠Q. Declarer carefully won
2♥ pass 3 ♠* pass in dummy with the ace, cashed the ♥10,
4♥ (all pass) played a heart to the jack, ruffed a club,
drew trumps and played a diamond. When
*heart fit with singleton somewhere everyone followed he could claim, cashing
his diamonds and returning to hand with
West’s decision to open 1NT meant the the preserved ♠K. That was +920 and 11
fit in diamonds was undisclosed, so a slam well earned imps.
was never really in the picture. You want to
be in 6♥ on these cards, but as it happens a In the second set of the match, Ao really
diamond lead will defeat you. poured on the gas and raced to a command-
ing lead. This deal helped them on their
Here North led the ♠8 and declarer won way:
in hand, drew three rounds of trumps and
then played on diamonds, claiming 11 tricks
when South scored a diamond ruff and a
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 25

South dealer North Closed Room

All vul ♠Q4 South West North East
♥K952 Cheek Ao Grue Wang
♦854 pass pass pass 1♣
♣AJ87 pass 1 ♠* pass 3 ♥*
West East pass 3 ♠* pass 4 ♥*
♠A83 ♠K972 pass 5 ♣* pass 6♦
♥AJ5 ♥3 (all pass)
♦ J 10 9 7 6 ♦AKQ3
♣65 ♣KQ94 *See text below.
♠ J 10 6 5 It can be fun to guess the meaning of an
♥ Q 10 8 7 6 auction – here’s my shot. After the strong
♦2 club, West showed a balanced hand and
♣ 10 3 2 East’s jump to 3♥ promised a three-suiter.
Now 3♠ asked for distribution and 4♥
Open Room showed 4-1-4-4. Then 5♣ was a transfer
South West North East to diamonds and with terrific trumps East
Chechelash Dawson Gu Lynch jumped to slam.
pass pass pass 1 ♣ (1)
pass 1 NT pass 3 ♥ (2) South led the ♠6 and declarer won with
double 5♦ (all pass) the ace in dummy, played a club to the
king, a heart to the ace and a club. North
(1) Precision Club took the ace and switched to a trump. De-
(2) short hearts clarer won in hand, cashed the ♣K, pitch-
ing a spade, ruffed a club, ruffed a heart
The 3♥ bid promised a three-suited high, played a trump to dummy, ruffed a
hand and West jumped to a sensible spot. heart high, cashed the ♠K and claimed
+1370 and 13 imps.
Declarer won the trump lead in dummy,
played a heart to the ace and ruffed a The Lynch team made a great comeback
heart high. Then he came to hand with a in the second half of the match, closing a
spade, ruffed a heart high, drew trumps and 68-imp deficit to 3, but then the boards ran
played a club for eleven tricks, +600. out and Ao advanced to the semifinals.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 26

Slamtastic! The Swedish stars play a complex system,

After a halftime score of 58-50, the quar- but I am confident that 1NT promised at
terfinal match between the Schwartz team least five spades. Once spades had been
(Drew Casen and Michael Polowan, Bjorn agreed East-West embarked on a series of
Fallenius and Peter Fredin, playing with cue/asking bids and eventually came to rest
Poles Piotr Gawrys and Bartosz Chmurski) in 6NT.
and the defending champions Nickell (but
without Dick Freeman, the team was Nick North led the ♣K and declarer won in
Nickell partnered by Hemant Lall, of Texas, hand and cashed three rounds of spades,
and Paul Soloway and Bob Hamman, Jeff North discarding clubs. That, and North’s
Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell) burst into life gentle overcall, suggested that the ♦K might
in the third quarter when the players had be onside, so declarer ran the ♦10. No
to cope with a series of exciting deals. doubt declarer cursed his luck when South
produced the king, but when he could not
East dealer North find a club in his hand declarer could claim,
N-S vul ♠— +990.
♦7 Closed Room
♣ K Q 10 9 6 5 4 3 West North East South
West East Rodwell Gawrys Meckstroth Chmurski
♠KJ763 ♠AQ84 — — 1 ♣ (1) pass
♥AJ ♥K2 1♥ (2) 4♣ pass pass
♦ 10 8 6 5 ♦AQJ42 double (3) pass 4♦ pass
♣A2 ♣J7 6♦ double 6♠ (all pass)
♠ 10 9 5 2 (1) Precision club
♥ Q 10 5 4 3 (2) 5+spades GF or 11-13 balanced
♦K93 (3) takeout
North’s intervention was more substan-
Open Room tial at this table. According to the VuGraph
West North East South operator West’s double was for takeout.
Fredin Hamman Fallenius Soloway When North made a Lightner double it was
— — 1♦ pass clear to East it must be based on a spade
1 NT* 2♣ 2 NT* pass void, so he removed to the known 5-4 fit.
3 ♣* pass 3 ♠* pass
4 ♣* pass 4 ♦* pass Declarer won the club lead with dum-
4 ♥* pass 5 ♦* pass my’s ace, drew trumps and ran the ♦10,
5 ♥* pass 5 ♠* pass +980 and no swing.
6 NT (all pass)

*A Swedish auction, which the author will partially There is an old theory that slam deals
decipher. come in pairs – this was the next board:
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 27

South dealer North Closed Room

E-W vul ♠ Q 10 9 8 7 South West North East
♥42 Chmurski Rodwell Gawrys Meckstroth
♦Q9 pass 1 ♣ (1) 1♠ 2 ♣ (2)
♣ 10 9 6 2 pass 2 ♦ (3) pass 2♥
West East pass 2 NT pass 3♣
♠K52 ♠A63 pass 3♥ pass 4 ♠ (4)
♥ K Q 10 9 8 7 ♥A6 pass 5 ♥ (5) pass 5 ♠ (6)
♦A8 ♦K54 pass 6 ♠ (7) pass 7 NT
♣K5 ♣AQJ87 (all pass)
♠J4 (1) Precision Club
♥J53 (2) natural GF
♦ J 10 7 6 3 2 (3) hearts
♣43 (4) RKCB
(5) two keycards for hearts and the ♥Q
Open Room (6) We have all the keycards.
South West North East (7) It is not clear what this showed — the editor
Soloway Fredin Hamman Fallenius thinks it is a special Meckwell conventional bid that
pass 1♥ pass 2 ♣ (GF) shows an interest in a grand slam, but allowing part-
pass 2♥ pass 2 NT ner to stop in 6NT.
pass 3♣ pass 4♣
pass 4♦ pass 4 NT (KCB) Once West opens with a strong club you
pass 5♥ pass 5 NT would expect East to go in search of a grand
pass 7 NT (all pass) slam and that is exactly what happened. No
Two clubs set up a game force, which
gave East-West plenty of room to explore. It
did not prove difficult to reach the odds-on
grand slam. Declarer won the diamond lead
in dummy and cashed his clubs before play-
ing hearts, +2220.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 28

South dealer North Closed Room

None vul ♠AJ986 South West North East
♥KJ94 Chmurski Rodwell Gawrys Meckstroth
♦ 10 8 7 pass 1 ♣ (1) 1 ♦ (2) 2 ♣ (3)
♣7 pass 4 ♦ (4) pass 5 ♣ (5)
West East 5♥ 6♣ pass pass
♠ K 10 ♠753 6♥ double (all pass)
♥Q ♥A2
♦AKQ942 ♦653 (1) Precision Club
♣ K J 10 2 ♣AQ983 (2) majors
South (3) natural, GF
♠Q42 (4) keycard for clubs
♥ 10 8 7 6 5 3 (5) Two plus the queen
♣654 When North showed the majors South
decided to adopt a “wait and see” policy
Open Room before eventually getting involved at the
South West North East five level. When he decided to save over
Soloway Fredin Hamman Fallenius 6♣ it was impossible for West to bid 6NT,
pass 1♦ 1♠ 2♣ as he did not know which major-suit ace his
2♠ 4♣ pass 4♥ partner held.
pass 4 NT pass 5 ♠*
pass 6 NT (all pass) West cashed the ♦K and continued with
the ace. Declarer ruffed and played a heart.
*two keycards for clubs and the ♣Q The location of the major-suit honors meant
he was only two down, -300 and 12 imps.
Once East showed a heart control West
asked for key cards and then bid 6NT to However, North had hesitated over
protect his ♠K. Well done, indeed, +990. West’s bid of 6♣ and West asked for a rul-
ing. In due course the result was restored to
North-South have a very good save in 6♣ making, no swing. Was South the archi-
hearts, but they never really had a chance tect of his own misfortune?
to mention the suit, unless you think South
could have bid an imaginative 2♥ over Aside from the failure to move at once
East’s 2♣. Make that very imaginative. over 2♣ by bidding 4♥ and take away some
bidding space, it must have been clear that
West was going to bid a slam over 5♣. Bet-
ter perhaps to bid 6♥ right away.

That was immediately followed by a deal

where the Swedish pair produced one of
the best auctions of the year:
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 29

West dealer North Declarer won the opening lead of the

N-S vul ♠Q7 ♠7 with the ace, cashed the ♣A, crossed
♥ K Q 10 6 5 4 3 to dummy with a diamond and picked up
♦8432 South’s trumps, claiming +920.
West East Closed Room
♠A982 ♠53 West North East South
♥AJ9 ♥8 Rodwell Gawrys Meckstroth Chmurski
♦ 10 7 ♦AKQJ9 1 NT 2♥ 3 ♥* pass
♣ A K 10 6 ♣J9832 3♠ pass 3 NT (all pass)
♠ K J 10 6 4 *minors?
♦65 If I interpret Meckwell’s convention card
♣Q754 correctly, 3♥ promised the minors, but that
may be wrong after the intervention and
Open Room the good slam was missed.
West North East South
Fredin Hamman Fallenius Soloway North led the ♥K and declarer won and
1 NT 2♥ 3 ♠ (1) double cashed the ♣A, claiming +490 when North
4♣ pass 4♥ pass discarded, but losing 10 imps.
4 NT pass 5 ♣ (2) pass
5 NT (3) pass 6♣ (all pass) Did I say slams come in pairs? This was
the very next deal:
(1) 5-5 minors
(2) one keycard for clubs
(3) we have all the keycards*

The Swedish pair had a gadget avail-

able and used it to great effect. Once East
had shown the minors West decided that
his tremendous club support and controls
meant it was worth going past 3NT. When
East made a cue bid in hearts West asked
for key cards and even toyed with the idea
of a grand slam before settling in 6♣.

*But shouldn’t this show the ♣Q as well? Neverthe-

less, East could not know how many spades could be
discarded on his diamonds, so he took a safe view,
bidding 6♣ and not 7♣. Actually 7♣ was almost
makeable. Declarer needs only to ruff two hearts in
the East hand, but it doesn’t work. — editor
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 30

North dealer North South led the ♠9 and declarer took

All vul ♠K North’s king with the ace, cashed the ♥A
♥ 10 8 7 6 5 3 and ran the ♥J pitching dummy’s last
♦K82 spade. He cashed the ♣J and that was fol-
♣ 10 9 8 lowed by a diamond to the jack and king.
West East North returned a club and declarer won in
♠ J 10 6 ♠A74 dummy, crossed to the ♦Q and claimed,
♥— ♥AQJ2 +1370.
♦AJ643 ♦Q7
♣AQ754 ♣KJ32 Closed Room
South West North East South
♠Q98532 Rodwell Gawrys Meckstroth Chmurski
♥K94 — pass 1 NT pass
♦ 10 9 5 3 ♠* pass 4♣ pass
♣6 4♥ pass 4♠ pass
5♥ pass 6♣ (all pass)
Open Room
West North East South *short hearts and the minors
Fredin Hamman Fallenius Soloway
— pass 1 ♣ (1) pass The 3♠ bid showed short hearts and the
1 ♠ (2) pass 1 NT pass minors (a similar situation to the one de-
2 ♠ (3) pass 3 ♦ (4) pass scribed above), and once clubs were agreed
4 ♥ (5) pass 5 ♣ (6) pass East-West cue bid to the slam.
6♣ (all pass)
Once again South led a spade and de-
(1) Swedish, various hands clarer followed a similar line to dispose of
(2) no four-card major dummy’s losing spades, +1370, no swing.
(3) minors
(4) likes clubs, not diamonds At the end of a thrilling and testing set
(5) void KCB Schwartz led 88-72.
(6) two keycards outside of hearts, no ♣Q

I wish I could translate the Swedish auc-

tion, but apart from knowing that 1♣ was
strong it is somewhat a mystery. The editor
has helped piece this together, though I
suspect he is guessing a bit.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 31

Nickell in the Stretch In practice they were right, as declarer

Trailing the Schwartz team by 16 imps played a heart to the queen and ace, and
going into the last set of the match, the East forced declarer with another club. He
Nickell team gradually pulled ahead. They ruffed and cashed the ♥K. When the jack
dropped only 7 imps in the last 16 deals, did not appear there was no way to make
but picked up 43. These two deals contrib- more than nine tricks, -50.
uted significantly to their eventual victory:
One winning line — surely impossible to
South dealer North find — is to run the ♥10 from hand. An-
E-W vul ♠A862 other is to cash the ♦K, ruff a diamond and
♥Q863 play a heart. If West had entered the auc-
♦96 tion, would that have improved declarer’s
♣872 chances? Hard to say.
West East
♠5 ♠KJ4 Closed Room
♥J54 ♥A9 South West North East
♦32 ♦QJ874 Chmurski Soloway Gawrys Hamman
♣ A Q 10 6 5 4 3 ♣KJ9 1♠ 2♣ 2♠ 3 NT
South (all pass)
♠ Q 10 9 7 3
♥ K 10 7 2 Here West made an aggressive overcall
♦ A K 10 5 and that gave East the chance to apply a
♣— law he invented – “Whenever 3NT is a pos-
sible contract, bid it.”
Open Room
South West North East South led the ♦A for the 2, 9 (discourag-
Meckstroth Fredin Rodwell Fallenius ing) and 4.
1♠ pass 3 ♠* pass
4♠ (all pass) This was the critical moment. South
needed to switch to a heart to defeat the
*mixed raise contract, but not just any old heart, it had
to be the king or the ten. Am I being un-
Not for the first time Meckwell reached kind if I suggest that the ten looks obvious?
a thin game that was not without chances
(and they often seem to make the ones that Well, it was not obvious to South, and
have no chance). he did switch to a heart, but it was the
2. North put up the queen and declarer
West led the ♦3 and declarer took East’s took the ace and rattled off seven rounds
jack with the ace and played the ♠10 to the of clubs, reducing to ♠K-J and ♦Q-J. He
ace and a spade, East going in with the king played a spade and North went up with
as West discarded the ♣3. Declarer ruffed the ace, South dropping the queen (he had
East’s club switch and at this point some of pitched his spades to keep the ♦K-10).
the Bridgebase commentators suggested it South won the diamond return and cashed
was impossible to make the contract from the ♥K but declarer discarded the ♠K and
this position. took the last trick with the ♦Q, +600 and
11 imps.
Bridge Today • October 2007 page 32

North dealer North Closed Room

E-W vul ♠84 West North East South
♥K972 Soloway Gawrys Hamman Chmurski
♦QJ8 — 1 ♣* pass 1♥
♣AKJ3 pass 2♥ pass 4♥
West East (all pass)
♠ A K 10 9 ♠QJ653
♥ J 10 ♥A3 *Polish Club, various hands, weak notrumps, or
♦975 ♦642 strong hand any suit
♣9852 ♣Q64
South The Polish Club was up to the task of
♠72 reaching the heart game, this time with
♥Q8654 South as declarer. West led the ♠K, East
♦ A K 10 3 playing the 6, and then immediately
♣ 10 7 switched to a low diamond.

Open Room Since West’s opening lead could have

West North East South been from ♠A-K or ♠K-Q, the situation
Fredin Rodwell Fallenius Meckstroth was less clear and declarer won in hand
— 1 NT (1) pass 2 ♦ (2) with the ace and played a heart to the jack,
pass 3♥ pass 4♥ king and ace. East cashed the ♠J and exited
(all pass) with a diamond. Declarer won in dummy
and, relying on the principle of restricted
(1) 14-16 choice, finessed in hearts. He was one down,
(2) transfer -50 and 10 imps to Nickell.

South transferred over North’s 14-16 By the way, the last two quarters of this
notrump, and when North broke the trans- match were two of the best you will ever
fer they were again in the sort of game they see between eight Titans of the game. The
make their living from. score of the third quarter was 30 to 22 for
Schwartz. Nevertheless, Nickell advanced to
East led the ♠Q and West overtook it, the semis.
cashed another spade, and switched to the
♣5. Declarer put up the ace and had only
to divine the heart position to make the Next month: a look at the Spingold
contract (the chance of making four tricks semifinals and finals
is around 52.56%). The only information
you have to go on is West’s possession of the AND ...
♠A-K and perhaps with the ♥A as well he
might have taken a bid. The world championships in Shang-
Declarer played a low heart from his
hand and when the queen held he played a AND ...
second heart and claimed +420.
A sneak preview of String Bidding!