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There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills

  by Richard Pavlicek

A charity tournament was held on March 3 at six South Florida bridge clubs in memory of Roger Jourdan, a leading player and personality, who died last year at the age of 38. Organizer, Temi Linzner, reports that $1,652 was raised for Hope House, a nursing-care facility, which is in dire need of funds to continue its cause.

Identical deals were played at each club, and I thought today’s (No. 21) was instructive. Most tables reached three notrump, although the auctions varied. I recommend the bidding shown.

3 NT South
E-W Vul
S 8
H J 9 3 2
D A Q 7
C A Q 6 4 2

2 S

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

Lead: S J
S A 9 5
H A 5
D K J 9 6 3
C 10 5 3


After West’s ideal-shape takeout double, North should redouble to show at least 10 points, and East should bid his spade suit. South should pass since he has nothing urgent to say and North will get another turn. West’s hand is barely worth a raise to two spades, North should bid three clubs (forcing) and South, three notrump.

Declarer has eight top tricks, and the contract depends on the club finesse, a strong favorite based on the bidding. To this extent, everyone succeeded (to my knowledge); but few managed to ferret out the overtrick, which is important at matchpoint, duplicate bridge. There’s gold in them thar hills, but you won’t find any nuggets lying on the surface; you have to dig for them.

West leads the spade jack, and he should continue with the king then the ten (to avoid blocking the suit) as declarer holds up his ace until the third round, throwing a club and a heart from dummy. The exact order of play is not critical, but assume declarer takes the club finesse, cashes four rounds of diamonds (throwing a club from dummy), and wins the heart ace.

West now holds one spade, the heart king, and king-jack of clubs. Dummy holds jack-small in hearts and ace-small in clubs. South then leads his last diamond — the crusher — and West must part with his spade (else buckle immediately). Seeing this, declarer discards dummy’s small club, then leads a heart to establish the jack… and there’s your nugget.

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© 1989 Richard Pavlicek