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Singleton Kings Effect Nightmare

  by Richard Pavlicek

A goal in duplicate bridge is to attain the rank of Life Master, which requires a player to earn 300 masterpoints in tournaments sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League. The task is made more difficult because a portion of these points must be won in regional or national tournaments, where the competition is keen.

Only about 10 percent of duplicate players ever attain this rank, and most who do usually require many years of playing. Therefore, it is newsworthy that Yvonne Godlove of Ft. Lauderdale reached this plateau at age 26 — after playing only a year and a half! She went “over the top” last weekend while playing at the Ft. Lauderdale Bridge Club. Yvonne (nee Hernandez) was recently married to Ed Godlove, so another round of congratulations is in order.

When asked for an interesting deal, Yvonne remembered today’s deal on which she sat West, defending against four hearts. She modestly noted, “We didn’t do anything brilliant — we just won all the tricks we were offered.” True, perhaps, but the defense was brutal.

4 H South
Both Vul
S Q 9 3
H Q 10 8 6
D A Q 3
C A 9 8


2 C
3 NT

1 NT
2 S
4 H
H 7 2
D 9 6 4
C J 10 7 6 5 4 2
TableS J 10 7 4 2
H 9 5 4
D K 8 7 5

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

West began with a club lead, ducked to the king. Would you have hopped with the ace if you were declarer? I doubt it. East then returned a spade, also ducked to the king. In this instance declarer should have taken the ace — a good defender would not lead from the king around to the queen in dummy — but we’ve all done worse. Now the fun began. West led a club, ruffed by East, and the spade return was ruffed by West. West then led a diamond and declarer, already defeated, tried that finesse too. East won the king and gave West another spade ruff. Down three! Declarer probably checked to see if he still had his wallet.

This debacle for North-South could have been avoided with better bidding. The Stayman convention is not recommended on hands without ruffing potential (4-3-3-3 shape), so North should have raised directly to three notrump to end the bidding.

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© 1987 Richard Pavlicek