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BRIDGE



Published: Sun, January 6, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

BRIDGE

North-South vulnerable. North deals.

NORTH

x10 9 8

uA K Q J 6 5 2

vK J

w6

WEST EAST

xQ 6 3 xJ 7 4

u7 4 u10 9 8 3

v10 9 2 vA Q 8 6 5

wQ 9 7 5 3 w4

SOUTH

xA K 5 2

uVoid

v7 4 3

wA K J 10 8 2

The bidding:

NORTHEASTSOUTH WEST

4w Pass 4NT Pass

5x Pass 6u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Three of w

Opening leads can cause major swings. This deal is from the Australian team selection matches some years ago, and caused a great deal of levity — although we are not sure that either East or West found it funny!

North’s four-club opening bid showed a powerful four-heart hand, four no trump was Blackwood and five spades showed two of the “five” aces (the king of trumps counts as an ace) and the queen of trumps. So South became declarer of the slam despite being void in the suit.

West had an unenviable choice of opening leads. Obviously, a diamond lead would have defeated the slam at the opening gun. A spade lead would have taken a bit longer, but since there is no way for declarer to get to dummy to draw trumps, sooner or later the contract would have bitten the dust. However, West elected to lead his fifth-best club — fourth-best would have led to the same debacle.

It’s not that the opening lead gave away a cheap trick — that made no difference. But, to everyone’s surprise dummy’s singleton six won the trick! Suddenly, declarer had an entry to draw trumps in four rounds, cross to the king of spades, cash the ace and king of clubs for two diamond discards and, since East had shown out on the second round of clubs, take the marked ruffing finesse for the queen of clubs to set up the ten to take care of the remaining spade loser, with the ace of spades serving as the entry. Making seven!

In the end, justice was done. The West player’s team won the event! But what a different result this deal would have been had West led the seven of clubs instead of the five or the three!

2013 Tribune Media Services


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