Article 7J73 Main

Moysian Slam

 by Richard Pavlicek

Few North-South pairs obtained a plus score on this challenging deal from the last Summer Nationals. With 33 HCP and no eight-card fit, most pairs reached 6 NT, which basically needed a 3-3 club break (or a workable squeeze) — not to be; down one.

A few enterprising bidders reached 6 S in the 4-3 fit — called a “Moysian fit” after the late Alphonse Moyse, who wrote many articles about the merits of these contracts. I uphold this philosophy and applaud North’s decision to raise spades with such strong trumps, albeit only three. South didn’t see any point in Blackwood and simply bid what he thought he could make.

North dealsS K Q 10WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH A K 6 5 41 HPass1 S
D Q 5Pass2 SPass6 S
C 9 5 4PassPassPass
S 9 8 7 2TableS 6 4
H Q 10 2H J 9 8 3
D J 9 8 7 6D 10 3
C 10C Q J 8 7 6
S A J 5 3
H 7
D A K 4 2
6 S SouthC A K 3 2

Declarer counted 11 top tricks, and the best chance for 12 seemed to be a ruff in dummy. (Clubs could not be breaking because West’s lead was clearly a singleton or doubleton.) After winning the C K, declarer crossed to the D Q and back to the D A; then came a diamond ruff in dummy as East pitched a club.

Declarer next cashed the S K-Q. Alas, there was no way to reach the South hand to draw West’s trumps; a club would be ruffed, and a heart ruff would fatally shorten South’s trumps. It also would not have helped to overtake the S Q with the ace. Down one.

A better plan would be a dummy reversal. Win the C K and cash H A-K, pitching a club; ruff a heart high (just in case); spade to dummy; ruff a heart high; spade to dummy; and draw another trump, pitching a club. Even though trumps fail to split, you’re still in clover. Just lead the good heart and pitch a diamond as West ruffs; then claim the rest with all winners. Magic.

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© 2004 Richard Pavlicek