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Good Card Reading

  by Richard Pavlicek

Marie Levee of Hollywood, playing with Barbara Brier of Miami, won the Women’s Pairs at the Sunshine State Seniors Regional held last week at the Hollywood Diplomat Hotel. This annual tournament is open to players 55 or older, and I hear by the grapevine that Levee had to keep showing her I.D. to prove eligibility. This was her first regional tournament — and what a success!

Levee was South on today’s deal and opened one spade. Brier, North, responded one notrump which was forcing for one round — a popular treatment used in conjunction with five-card majors. The two-club rebid on a three-card suit was dictated by system, and North’s jump to three spades showed 11 or 12 points with three-card trump support. South could have passed this but liked her hand and carried on to game.

4 S SouthS K 10 4WestNorthEASTSouth
Both VulH A K J 7Pass1 S
D J 5 2Pass1 NTPass2 C
C 6 5 3Pass3 SPass4 S
S 9 5TableS J 8 7PassPassPass
H 10 6 2H Q 5 4 3
D Q 7 6D A K 10 4
C Q J 9 8 7C 4 2
S A Q 6 3 2
H 9 8
D 9 8 3
Lead: H 6C A K 10

Four spades appears to be doomed as the cards lie, but Levee brought it home with some good card reading. West shunned the lead of the club queen because of South’s two-club bid and chose instead the heart six. From declarer’s point of view this could not be fourth-best, and a glance at the opponent’s convention card (required at all tournaments to denote partnership agreements) showed they used a leading method known as M-U-D. This stands for “middle-up-down,” which means the middle card is led from three small cards. (Leader then has the option to play the higher card next to distinguish three-small from a doubleton.)

On this reasoning declarer felt sure the heart finesse would fail, and her best chance was that West had led from three hearts including the 10. Accordingly, she won the heart king and drew two rounds of trumps with the ace and queen. A heart was led to the ace, then the jack was returned: queen; ruff; 10. Dummy’s heart seven was now established as declarer’s 10th trick.

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© 1986 Richard Pavlicek