July 14, 2024
Ed, my club’s expert, had won our quarterly pairs championship, playing with Cy the Cynic. “We were tied with Rose and Unlucky Louie entering the last two-board round,” Ed told me, “and they were our opponents. The first board was a flat game, so the second would tell the tale.” Ed showed me today’s deal.

Ed, my club’s expert, had won our quarterly pairs championship, playing with Cy the Cynic.

“We were tied with Rose and Unlucky Louie entering the last two-board round,” Ed told me, “and they were our opponents. The first board was a flat game, so the second would tell the tale.”

Ed showed me today’s deal.

“I played at six spades,” Ed said, “and Rose led a heart. I won with the ace and led a diamond. Rose knew I had a singleton; with two low diamonds, I wouldn’t have used Blackwood. But Louie had played the four on the first heart, so Rose placed me with four heart tricks and five good spades. If she took the ace of diamonds, I would have 12 tricks. So she ducked.”

“Good defense,” I said.

“Rose is no slouch,” Ed nodded. “The king won in dummy, but I had only 11 tricks.”

Ed ruffed a diamond and cashed all his trumps and three more hearts. After 10 tricks, dummy had the queen of diamonds and A-9 of clubs, and Ed had Q-5-4 of clubs. Rose had to keep the K-10 of clubs and ace of diamonds, and Ed exited with a diamond and end-played her.

“Well done,” I said. “If you lead toward your queen of clubs, you fail. What led you to the winning play?”

“It was a guess,” Ed said. “But it occurred to me that if Rose had nothing in clubs, her opening lead might have been the ace of diamonds. This was matchpoints, after all, and she might have saved an overtrick.”

Whether Ed’s reasoning was sound, I don’t know. I know he won the event.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S 6 4 2

H K Q 6 2

D K Q 3

C A 9 6

WEST

S 8 5

H 10 8 7

D A J 10 4

C K 10 8 3

EAST

S 9 7 3

H 9 5 4

D 8 7 6 5 2

C J 7

SOUTH

S A K Q J 10

H A J 3

D 9

C Q 5 4 2

North East South West
1 C Pass 1S Pass
1 NT Pass 3 C Pass
3 S Pass 4 NT Pass
5 D Pass 6 S All Pass
Opening lead — H 7

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