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Fox Is Outfoxed as Ace Is Lost

  by Richard Pavlicek

The World Bridge Team Olympiad begins in Venice, Italy, as you read this column. Top teams from approximately 80 countries will meet to decide the 1988 world championship.

To bring the action closer to home, the American Contract Bridge League and U.S. Videotel will conduct an experimental Global Pairs. From Oct. 11-22 deals played in Venice will be transmitted to six North American sites via computer terminals, so players can play the same deals and compare their results with the world’s best. Lucky day! One of the selected sites is the Bridge Club of Tamarac.

Today’s deal is from last year’s world championship in which the United States defeated Great Britain in the final. Pay no attention to the East-West bidding (chuckle if you like), as the British were playing a bizarre system. Despite this hindrance, the American superstars, Bob Hamman and Robert Wolff of Dallas, had little trouble reaching game in their four-four heart fit.

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

Lead: D 4
S Q J 7 6
H Q 9 8 5
D Q J 5 2
C 7

Wolff, South, should be defeated as the cards lie. East-West can win two aces, a natural trump trick, and a diamond ruff with any normal sequence of plays. But would a pair that bid the way East and West did do anything normal? Of course not. West decided to be foxy and underled his ace of diamonds; declarer played low from dummy and captured East’s nine with the queen.

Anxious to get the trumps out, declarer played a heart to the ace and back to the queen, losing to West’s king. Declarer still had no chance — well, almost none. West was unaware of the situation and decided to pursue his deception: He underled the diamond ace again; East ruffed with the heart jack and returned a spade. The fox was now outfoxed. Declarer cashed another spade, led the club king to East’s ace, and eventually discarded dummy’s remaining diamonds on the queen-jack of spades to make four hearts. The ace of diamonds never took a trick.

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© 1988 Richard Pavlicek