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U.S. Wins World Championship

  by Richard Pavlicek

The World Bridge Team Championship was captured by Steve Robinson, Peter Boyd, Kit Woolsey, Ed Manfield, Robert Lipsitz and Neil Silverman — all from the Washington, D.C. area. The event began with 140 teams from 55 countries and climaxed with a lopsided 128-deal final in which the Americans defeated Pakistan, 357-207. Three other U.S. teams finished in the top 10, including mine in sixth place.

Today’s deal occurred in my team’s match against Switzerland and, though it created no swing, it serves as a lesson in proper technique. Both teams reached four spades with the North-South cards. Faced with a trump loser and missing the ace-king of diamonds, it appears that declarer must guess which defender to finesse for the club queen to make his contract. Not so, as both South players demonstrated.

4 S South
Both Vul
S A 4
H K 7 6 3
D J 7 2
C A J 10 4

1 C
1 NT
1 S
4 S
S Q J 2
H Q J 9 5
D K 9 5 3
C 6 5
TableS 9 3
H 10 8 4
D A 10 8 6
C Q 9 8 2

Lead: H Q
S K 10 8 7 6 5
H A 2
D Q 4
C K 7 3

West led the heart queen to South’s ace, then declarer set about his plan by winning the heart king and ruffing a heart. The trump king was cashed, followed by a trump to the ace and another heart ruff as East threw a diamond. A trump was conceded to West (throwing a club from dummy), and declarer spread his hand — claiming four spades.

This kind of claim might not be allowed by the average player (and, incidentally, should not be made in a casual game); but with only experts at the table, it was quickly acknowledged as valid.

At the point that West won his trump trick only minor-suit cards remained, thanks to declarer’s elimination of dummy’s small hearts. West had two choices: He could lead a club which gives declarer a free finesse by playing dummy’s 10; or he could lead a diamond which allows declarer to establish a diamond discard for his losing club. Either way, the contract is guaranteed.

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© 1986 Richard Pavlicek