North-South vulnerable. South deals.


x8 6

uA K 6

vQ 9 7

wA 10 9 8 4


xA Q 10 5 3 xJ 9 2

uQ J 10 7 3 u9 8 4 2

v4 v6 3 2

wJ 5 wK Q 2


xK 7 4


vA K J 10 8 5

w7 6 3

The bidding:


1v 1x 2w Pass

2v 2u 3u Pass

3NT 4u 5v Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Queen of u

Geoffrey Mott-Smith was a man of many parts: chairman of the National Laws Commission; owner of one of the first bridge clubs in New York; author of more than two dozen books on bridge and other games; organizer of the annual Intercollegiate Bridge Tournament; etc. So versatile was he that many forgot he was one of the best players of his day. Here he is at work in a duplicate pairs event.

Taking advantage of the vulnerability, West competed all the way up to four hearts. Five hearts would have been a good sacrifice, down only two tricks. Though East was rather timid, neither East nor West can be blamed for not bidding on, since 11 tricks at diamonds were unlikely to be made.

West led the queen of hearts, and declarer’s problem was obvious. It seemed that sooner or later East would gain the lead in clubs to shoot the jack of spades through South’s king for a one-trick set. Mott-Smith had other ideas.

At trick one declarer allowed West’s queen of hearts to win the trick! West shifted to the jack of clubs, but it was too late — South was in control. Declarer won with the table’s ace, cashed the ace and king of hearts for two club discards and ruffed a club high. The jack of diamonds was overtaken with the queen and another club was ruffed. After cashing the ace of diamonds, declarer overtook the eight with the table’s nine, in the process drawing the defenders’ last trump. Dummy’s two long clubs took care of two of declarer’s spades. South conceded a spade trick and claimed his contract.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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