Main     Article 7J85 by Richard Pavlicek    

Silver and Gold

I was West on this deal from a recent online match and opened 1 S — a borderline bid, but I liked my sequences in spades and diamonds. Partner managed to raise my suit, but essentially we were just spectators as our opponents bid to a nice slam. The sterling club suit and spade void opposite were like silver and gold.

South wouldn’t enter the bidding without a good suit, so North decided to improvise with 4 S — obviously some kind of splinter bid, showing short spades and a club fit. South could hardly have a better suit, and his four low spades hinted at the facing void, so 6 C was reached in one fell swoop. Excellent bidding.

6 C by South

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

West
1 S
Pass
North
2 D
4 S!
East
2 S
Pass
South
3 C
6 C

I suspected the S A wasn’t cashing, so I led the H K — not so much to get a ruff but to attack dummy’s entry. Declarer won the ace and cashed three top diamonds to pitch two hearts and a spade. Setting up diamonds was a poor plan since it also required 2-2 trumps (no side entry to dummy), but a crossruff looked promising.

Accordingly, declarer ruffed a heart to reach his hand. Oops. I was able to overruff (I knew that C J was good for something) and return a trump. Now declarer could ruff only two spades, and he lacked the entries to establish and use diamonds, so the contract failed.

Declarer was unlucky to be overruffed on the first heart ruff, but he had the means to succeed. He needed to polish his silver to fleece the golden spade void. The sturdy club spots created a virtual lock by ruffing each heart high in the crossruff. South would then be left with S 9 C 10-9-8, and the last spade is ruffed with the C 7 to claim, conceding the C J.

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© 2004 Richard Pavlicek