Article 7K06 Main


 by Richard Pavlicek

In June of this year I was in San Francisco for the Team Trials and visited with Gary Schneider, a good friend who had moved there from Fort Lauderdale. We took a few days to see Alcatraz, scenic Marin County, and the Zoo. And speaking of zoos, back to bridge.

South dealsS Q 9 7 6 5WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH 10 9 8 6 51 NT
D A JPass2 DPass2 H
C 2Pass2 SPass4 H
S K 10 3TableS A 8 4PassPassPass
H K 2H J 3
D Q 10 8 3D 9 7 6 5 4
C A J 9 3C 7 6 5
S J 2
H A Q 7 4
D K 2
4 H SouthC K Q 10 8 4

Schneider was South on this 1986 deal at the FLBC. He opened an off-shape 1 NT, a reasonable bid having an honor in each doubleton. This caused West to huddle momentarily — a clue that Schneider would use later. North’s 2 D was a Jacoby transfer and South obligingly bid 2 H. North next bid 2 S to show 5-5 in the majors and South jumped to game with his great heart fit.

West led the C A and shifted to a diamond, won by dummy’s jack. The normal play to avoid a loser in the trump suit is to finesse the queen; but Schneider felt West had the king from his reluctant pass over 1 NT. Accordingly, he embarked on a clever campaign to induce an error. He cashed the H A, crossed to the D A, and led another heart; jack; queen; king.

West was on lead in an uncomfortable situation. Looking at all four hands it is obvious to lead a spade and defeat the contract; but West did not know his partner held the S A. Clearly, a diamond lead would yield a ruff and discard, so West returned a “harmless” club. This indeed would have been harmless if declarer held a balanced hand; but the hidden five-card club suit provided four discards for North’s spades. I guess you could say that West was schneidered on this one.

Article 7K06 MainTop Schneidered

© 1996 Richard Pavlicek