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Moysian Fit Is Only Hope for Game

  by Richard Pavlicek

The Central Florida Regional, held last week in Kissimmee, drew a large Florida crowd as well as many out-of-state players — no doubt aided by the arctic winter in the north. The six-day tournament included many separate events for players of all levels. Today’s deal occurred in the Flight A Swiss Teams.

4 H South
Both Vul
S K Q 7 2
H A 9 5
D 4 3
C K 10 7 4

2 D
1 C
2 H
1 D
1 H
4 H
S 9 6 5
H Q 10 4
D K J 9 7 2
C 6 3
TableS J 10 4
H J 7 3
D A Q 10 8 6
C A 2

Lead: D 7
S A 8 3
H K 8 6 2
D 5
C Q J 9 8 5

North’s opening bid was on the skimpy side, and his decision to raise hearts with only three trumps was questionable. These actions resulted in a four-heart contract with only seven trumps, one less than desirable in a trump fit. The four-three trump fit — called a “Moysian” fit in tribute to the late Alphonse Moyse, a great proponent of these contracts — requires delicate play and reasonable (if not lucky) breaks.

The defense began with two rounds of diamonds, South ruffing, then a club was led to the king and ace. East returned a club and South faced the problem of drawing the enemy trumps while limiting his loss to one trump trick. This required a three-three break, but even then he had problems. It would not suffice to lead the ace, king and another trump because that would leave the opponents on lead to cash their diamonds. South made the key play of ducking a heart, after which he could win the rest of the tricks with any return. Nicely played.

Did you spot the winning defense? The Moysian fit will collapse if East, after winning the club ace, leads a third round of diamonds. No matter which hand declarer ruffs in, he will be unable to duck a trump successfully — because a fourth diamond will prevent him from drawing the enemy trumps. Declarer is “ruff-sluffed” to death.

Observe that North-South cannot make game in three notrump, nor in five clubs (their only normal trump fit). Curiously, though, the Moysian fit in spades plays very well (11 tricks can be made after a diamond lead), thanks to the stronger trumps — but bidding to four spades is not so easy.

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© 1988 Richard Pavlicek