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West Is Caught Napping

  by Richard Pavlicek

Today’s deal was played by Ed Metz about six months ago at the Ft. Lauderdale Bridge Club. Metz, an experienced, longtime bridge player is well known for his fixation for the finer points of the game. Rumors say that he once spent several hours explaining the intricacies of a crisscross squeeze to his less capable, female partner, who used the opportunity to catch up on some sleep.

3 NT South
None Vul
S J 9 8 6 3
H 8 3
D A 10 9 7 4 3
1 NT
2 S
3 D
2 NT
3 NT
S A Q 10 4
H K 10 7 5
D J 6
C A K 6
TableS 7 2
H 9 2
D 8 5 2
C 9 7 5 4 3 2

Lead: C K
S K 5
H A Q J 6 4
C Q J 10 8

Metz, South, had taught his partner to play one of his favorite items of esoterica — the Brozel convention — in which all overcalls of an opponent’s one-notrump opening showed two-suited hands. I won’t go into all the details, but North’s bid showed spades and an unknown minor suit. I wonder if Metz forgot to explain that North was supposed to have some points for this bid. Five points? Well, he was lucky this time to catch Metz with the world’s fair.

South bid two notrump, which systemically asked North to show his minor suit. Metz had some fleeting thoughts about slam; but after recalling West’s opening bid, he settled for his favorite contract.

West led the club king, then continued with the ace as declarer discarded two spades from dummy. After a short pause, West shifted to the diamond jack (a sweet card to see) and the gleam was restored to Metz’s eyes as he won the king. It was obvious that West held the missing high cards, so declarer led a sneaky jack of hearts from his hand. It worked! West was caught napping and ducked.

With 10 tricks now secure, Metz went for his tour de force. He cashed two good clubs, discarding spades from dummy, then overtook the diamond queen with the ace to run the entire suit. Everyone was reduced to two cards: Dummy held the spade jack and a heart; South kept the ace-queen of hearts; and West — not enjoying any of this — kept the spade ace and heart king. Finally, a heart to the ace dropped the king and Metz had 11 tricks for a top board.

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© 1988 Richard Pavlicek